Egypten - autokrati, demokrati eller teokrati?

Tarek Harbi & Mikkel Kaastrup

Studenteropgave: Speciale


Since the military coup in 1952, Egypt has been ruled by an authoritarian regime which has proved to be remarkably resilient. International pressure for political liberalization and democratization has only led to cosmetic changes, which have given the regime a democratic façade. Oppressive laws combined with the almost continuous state of emergency in the country prevents the emergence of genuine political competition. While newer secular parties such as Kefaya and Al-Ghad have been suppressed by the regime, the older opposition parties such as the Wafd Party and the Nationalist Unionist Progressive Party have become locked with the regime in a stagnant, undemocratic political system. The outlawed Islamic party, The Muslim Brotherhood, remains the biggest threat to the political power of the regime because of its increasing popularity, which is based on its social and humanitarian activities and its programme of spreading Islamic values, combating corruption and (more recently) demanding a more liberal and democratic political system. During the rule of president Mubarak and his National Democratic Party, civil society has exerted a growing pressure for democratization, but so far the regime has been able to contain the pressure. On this basis, the thesis investigates the possibilities for a democratic transition in Egypt. The thesis uses a combination of structuralist theories of democratization (early and later modernization theory, social structural analysis) and agency-based theories (transition theory) as theoretical tools for analysing the problem. Structuralist theories help us ascertain whether structural and historical factors in Egypt rule out the possibility of democratization, or whether democratization should, in principle, be possible. They also help to pinpoint the structural forces which support or hinder democratization. Transition theory tells us how transitions from authoritarian to democratic regimes have taken place during the 20th century and, as a consequence, which events might lead to a democratization in Egypt - and how. A description of the modern history of Egypt and of the society and political system of Egypt today forms the basis of the later analyses. These show that Egypt meets the necessary prerequisites for democratization, but that the class structure of the Egyptian society is a barrier for democratization. Following this, Egypt is described as a semi-autocracy in balance (based on a terminology presented by Marina Ottaway), and an analysis of the low level of support and legitimacy of the Egyptian regime amongst the population highlights the motives behind the desire for democratization amongst the Egyptian public. In the final analysis, we focus on the possible scenarios for democratization, and their likelihood. We conclude that democratization will only be possible, if the pressure of civil society for democratization increases, while the ability - or will - of the regime to suppress it is weakened. Following this, we seek to point out how this could happen, and conclude that the most likely scenario is a serious or prolonged economic crisis, even though political crises would also increase the likelihood of a transition. Finally, we conclude that a democratic transition is only possible if the regime is weakened enough to be unable to control the process of transition, and if the transition is dominated by democratic forces.

UddannelserInternationale Udviklingsstudier, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat
Udgivelsesdato26 feb. 2009
VejlederePeter Hegelund Skriver


  • Egypten demokratisering islam Muslim Brotherhood Mellemøsten transitionsteori demokratiseringsteori