Egypt Between 2010 and 2015

On the eve of what would go down in history as the Arab springs, within the entourage of President Muḥammad Ḥusnī Mubārak a debate began to arise about his possible succession. In fact, in September 2011, the new presidential elections were scheduled and, on that date, Mubārak would have been 83 years old and could have chosen not to run again. The possible political rise of his son Gamāl, at this point, seemed an increasingly less remote possibility, but it was precisely this factor that created internal tensions in the regime. The figure of Gamāl was not particularly liked by the military class: the president’s son was in fact an expression of the new generation of businessmen, trained in European and American universities and proponents of liberalization policies in the economic sphere. The army, for its part, although it had lost some of its political power from the years of Anwār al-Sādāt onwards, it continued to exert a considerable influence on Egyptian public life, thanks to the management of the economy and finance. The idea that Mubārak’s possible successor could push further for more liberal economic policies, effectively eroding a part of the power that the military could still count on, generated differences of views within the regime.

In addition, in July 2004, some new movements were born, such as Kifāyah (“enough!”), A real protest platform formed by civil society, which in its demonstrations publicly chanted slogans against Mubārak for the first time. This was only the first of a series of organizations that, from then on, would challenge the regime by claiming greater freedoms and respect for civil and political rights. From March 2008, the political demonstrations were joined by protests of a socio-economic nature, due to the skyrocketing prices of basic necessities such as flour. These new ‘bread riots’ resulted in the deaths of at least 15 people. Furthermore, two other movements emerged as possible catalysts of political and social discontent: the April 6 Movement, born in 2008 to support the strikes of workers in the textile industry in al-Maḥallah alKubrā, in the Nile Delta, and the blog Sia mo tutti Khaled Sa῾id, named after a boy whose story had caused a lot of hype. In June 2010, Khaled Sa῾id was stopped by the police in a internet café in Alexandria on drug possession charges and died from the beatings he suffered.

The parliamentary elections of 2010, however, marked a backward step for hopes of democratization, as President Mubārak’s National Democratic Party essentially established itself as the only party force in Parliament. For Egypt 2000, please check

Marchers in the square

In the wake of the protests in Tunisia, in January 2011 also Egypt it began to be crossed by a series of protests led by the various associations that had formed in recent years. On January 25, 2011, a symbolic date because it coincides with the National Day of the police forces, a series of demonstrations began in one of the main squares of the Egyptian capital, Taḥrīr square. The declared objective was no longer that of obtaining reforms, but that of Mubārak’s resignation, following what had happened in Tunisia with the flight of President Ben ῾Alī from the country on January 14, 2011. The first days of protest, with young people encamped in the square, they saw an often bloody confrontation between the demonstrators and the police. The protests lasted for more than two weeks and the repression of the police forces commanded by Mubārak caused more than 800 victims in a few days. On February 10, Mubārak gave a speech to the nation, in which instead of resigning he announced the transfer of part of the powers to his deputy ῾Umar Sulaymān. As a response to the speech, the next day hundreds of thousands of Egyptians again poured into the squares, in a context that was becoming increasingly tense and inclined to slip into a real civil conflict. On the same day, Sulaymān appeared on television to announce Mubārak’s resignation, probably under pressure from the army. From that moment, Sulaymān set out to guide the country towards a new phase of revision of the Constitution and the election of a new Parliament and a new head of state. ad interim by former Defense Minister Muḥammad Ḥusayn Ṭanṭāwī and by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF)). The new government proposed some amendments to the Constitution, which were approved in a referendum in March 2011. Between November 2011 and January 2012, the first democratic parliamentary elections in the history of Egypt contemporary. The clear victory of the Islamist formations, with the coalition led by the Muslim Brotherhood (v.) Which won 37.5% of the votes and that led by the Salafist party al-Nūr which obtained almost 28%, anticipated the result of the presidential elections of the 2012. In the second round, held on 16 and 17 June 2012, the candidate of the Freedom and Justice Party (belonging to the Brotherhood) Muḥammad Mursī was elected president with almost 52% of the votes. For the first time in republican history, this position was held by a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and by a person who did not come from the army. His management of political affairs, not very attentive to the demands of the opposition, generated a second wave of revolts, following which General Abd al-Fattāḥ al-Sīsī carried out – on 3 July 2013 – a coup d’état to depose Mursī. Candidate in the subsequent presidential elections in May 2014 and elected president of the Egypt with almost 97% of the vote, al-Sīsī gradually consolidated his power in an attempt to restore stability to the country, despite being heavily criticized for the repression against the Muslim Brotherhood and the opposition social movements. At the international level, with al-Sīsī Egypt returned to play a role of primary importance, especially as a barrier to jihadist fundamentalism (see is). In view of a strengthening of the economy, in August 2014 the Egypt launched a plan to double the Suez Canal. The work, inaugurated in August 2015, cost over 8 billion dollars and, according to the forecasts of the Egyptian authorities, should guarantee annual revenues of more than 13.2 billion dollars by 2023 (2014 revenues amounted to approximately 5.5 billion).

Egypt Between 2010 and 2015

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