The fall of the 30-year authoritarian regime of President Hosni Mubarak was the culmination of years of deteriorating political, economic and social conditions for Egyptian citizens. The ability of Egypt to move forward from autocracy to democracy will largely depend on whether the process of adopting a new constitution and establishing new democratic institutions is seen by its people as inclusive and representative. NDI has worked in Egypt since 1995 when it helped support Egypt’s first domestic election observation initiative. In 2005 NDI assisted civil society organizations to conduct the first officially-sanctioned election observation in Egypt for the presidential and parliamentary elections. With observers deployed throughout the country, these efforts revealed that, among other deficiencies, voter turnout was far lower than government figures had previously asserted, a revelation which helped expose the fundamental weakness of Egyptian governing structures. The subsequent domestic election monitoring in 2010 (also assisted by NDI) helped expose the massive irregularities in the parliamentary elections.
With an existing infrastructure in Cairo that includes senior resident experts in political party development, civic education and domestic election monitoring, experienced Egyptian national staff, and well established local partners throughout the country, NDI expanded its programs with two new offices in Alexandria and Assiut. NDI’s in-country programs include opportunities for Egyptian political and civic activists to exchange ideas and lessons learned with former senior government and military officials from Chile, Indonesia and Poland and other countries that have had successful democratic transitions. NDI also sponsors public opinion research to inform the Institute’s Egyptian partners on Egyptian citizens’ attitudes and priorities. NDI’s programs in Egypt are supported by the U.S. Department of State and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Pictured above: Candidates at a debate organized by Partners in Change in Manufiyah