As Egypt embarks on its journey from autocracy to democracy, Egyptian political party and civil society leaders are finding it helpful to hear from those in other countries who participated in similar transitions in their own countries. Since the fall of President Hosni Mubarak in February, NDI has been bringing experts and leaders from Chile, Indonesia, Poland, Romania and Serbia to Cairo to meet with youth leaders, civil society and new political parties about the lessons they learned from their own countries’ experiences.
Two such leaders, Sergio Bitar and Genaro Arriagada, recently travelled from Chile to Cairo. Both held cabinet level positions during Chile’s transition to democracy. Bitar helped found the Party for Democracy, while Arriagada is a Christian Democratic Party leader and intellectual.
"We met with all the political parties, and also the young people who were involved (in the protests)," Bitar told the Santiago Times upon his return. "We spoke on a number of issues, how to deal with the military, how to form coalitions, how to select candidates for the presidency."
Despite the long road ahead, Bitar returned to Chile feeling optimistic. "It will be a slow process of learning, they will have lots of crises along the way, but it won’t reverse the process."
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Pictured above: Sergio Bitar, photo courtesy of bitar.cl
Published on March 30, 2011