Egypt. According to countryaah, Cairo is the capital and one of the major cities within the country of Egypt. 2005 was the year in which Egypt received a political debate worth the name. Following pressure from the United States in particular, President Hosni Mubarak pushed through constitutional changes in the spring, which meant that several candidates would be allowed to stand in the September 7 presidential election. Mubarak had been re-elected four times since taking office in 1981 – always by being endorsed by the people in a referendum with no counter-candidates. Many opposition parties felt that the constitutional changes were not sufficiently far-reaching, but they were nevertheless approved in a referendum in May, and the summer was marked by intense political activity. The election campaign centered mainly on the presidential power and on the increasingly unpopular state of emergency that has prevailed in the country since 1981 and on unemployment, the economy and corruption. The opposition’s nine candidates, which started from scratch when the new constitution was voted through, could not mobilize any real opposition to Mubarak. The country’s main opposition forces also had different ways of looking at the election itself. While the Kifaya movement (“Now it may be enough”) called for a boycott, considering that the election was designed to legitimize Mubarak’s power holdings, the formally banned Muslim Brotherhood urged its supporters to vote for any of the opposition candidates.
- Also see abbreviationfinder.org for how the acronym EG stands for the country of Egypt and other meanings of this two-letter abbreviation.
Mubarak received 88.6% of the vote in the election. In second place, with 7.6%, sat Ayman Nur, leader of the al-Ghad party (“Morning Day”), who had gone to elections with far-reaching promises of democratization.
Even before the parliamentary elections, which were held in three rounds in November and December, the election campaign was unusually intense. But in connection with the vote, the police seized a large number of opposition representatives and dismissed many Egyptians who came to the polling stations to vote. Krawls erupted in several directions and the police killed a total of nine people, most of them supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood. The election results showed that Mubarak’s National Democratic Party (NDP) retained its large majority in parliament but that independent candidates loyal to the Muslim Brotherhood had increased their share of the mandate from 7% to 20%. For the liberal opposition, things went badly; Nur lost his parliamentary seat. The turnout in both presidential and parliamentary elections was only 23-24%. No international observers were allowed to monitor the elections.
At least 88 people, including many foreign tourists, were killed in three almost simultaneous explosions in the Sharm ash-Shaykh tourist resort on July 23. Several Islamist groups took responsibility for the death. The weeks following the attack, police arrested hundreds of people for questioning.
On December 30, at least 25 people were killed when police stormed a camp that Sudanese refugees had set up outside a UN office in Cairo. The refugees had requested that the UN help them get to a third, safer country.
Egypt was already a military dictatorship, and with the dissolution of parliament, the impeding of new elections and the election of the newly elected president, the military indicated that it did not intend to surrender power. The political coup of the military led to fierce condemnation in Egypt, while met with silence from the western world. The coup created a new dual power situation in the country with the military on the one hand, and the Brotherhood on the other. With a turnout of only 50%, President Morsi could only claim to have about 25% of Egyptians behind him, but he had the country’s strongest political movement behind him, so Morsi also announced immediately after the military’s “coup” that the Brotherhood did not recognized the steps of the military.
The Election Commission announced June 24 that Morsi had won by 51.7% of the vote. He was deployed on the presidential post on June 30. Already a week later, it came into conflict with SCAF when he convened parliament, which the military had otherwise dissolved a month before. On the same day as Parliament met, Morsi – perhaps for security reasons – went on a state visit to Saudi Arabia. The military allowed the parliament to meet, but in turn, the session only lasted 5 minutes, with the parliament deciding that it would await a ruling by the Supreme Court on the validity of the dissolution of parliament. The order of the Mubarak faith Supreme Court lay the following day, affirming the dissolution of the military by Parliament. Not unexpectedly, the military had won the power struggle and portrayed Morsi as weak, but he had at least marked across from the Brotherhood’s base,
Later in July, Morsi met with Hamas to discuss supplies to Gaza. Until 2011, the Mubarak regime had participated in Israel’s illegal blockade of Gaza.
In August, Morsi surprisingly appointed Hesham Qandil as new prime minister. Qandil was Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation in the Transitional Government in 2011-12.
At the beginning of August, Islamists attacked a military base in northern Sinai, killing 12 Egyptian soldiers and capturing 2 armored carriages as they drove toward the border with Israel. Both crews were put out of play before reaching the border. However, the attack was a major loss of prestige for the Egyptian military and reinforced the internal contradictions in SCAF. It took advantage of President Morsi to outmaneuver SCAF’s former rulers. Chief of SCAF and Defense Minister Mohamad Hussein Tantawi and Defense Secretary Sami Anan were removed from their posts. Instead, Morsi deployed the relatively unknown military intelligence chief Abdul Fattah el-Sisi as new defense minister. His most important quality in the Brotherhood’s eyes was that he was the most religious among the senior officers. At the same time, Morsi repealed the restrictions in the Constitution SCAF had introduced two months earlier. The changes marked a crucial shift in the balance of power between the military and the country’s civil administration. So much so that some observers pointed out that Morsi had in fact gained more power than Mubarak had ever had.
Morsi spoke at the end of August at the Alliance Free Lands Summit in Tehran. The meeting was ignored by Western media until Morsi declared his support for the rebels in Syria. Conversely, statements made were suppressed and distorted by the Iranian hosts.
On August 27, Morsi appointed 21 counselors – including 3 women and 2 Christians. He also appointed new governors to 27 of the country’s regions.
While Saudi Arabia had an interest in weakening Egypt to even become the political center of the Arab world, Qatar’s interests went in a different direction. The small oil-rich country had decided to ally with Egypt to be politically close to the center of the Arab world. In October, therefore, it agreed to support Egypt with $ 8 billion. US $ to develop a new industrial zone along the Zuez Canal. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development announced its intention to contribute $ 1 billion. € for the project.
In November, Waǧīh Ṣubḥī Bāqī Sulaymā was inaugurated as the Copts Pope Tawadros II in Alexandria. The deposition was attended by Prime Minister Hesham Qandil.
On November 14, Israel launched a war against Gaza. Morsi’s government condemned the Israeli attacks and sent Prime Minister Qandil to Gaza to express solidarity with the Palestinians. Morsi’s intervention was radically different from the Mubaract era, with the dictatorship passively viewing Israel’s assault on the Palestinians. That was the reason why the United States and Egypt could, within a few days, force Israel and Gaza to enter into a ceasefire.