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 its ability to establish democratic institutions perceived 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 and again in 2010, NDI assisted civil society organizations conduct the first officially sanctioned election observation in Egypt for the presidential and parliamentary elections.
In April 2011, NDI was provided a two-year grant totaling $14 million to assist Egyptian democratic reform efforts by the U.S. Department of State and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Throughout 2011 NDI’s programs included sharing international experiences on democratic transitions, training for the long-term development of political parties, and assistance to civil society organizations engaged in election monitoring, civic education and nonpartisan voter education. NDI’s 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. Unfortunately on Dec. 29, 2011, security forces from the Egyptian government raided NDI’s offices in Cairo, Alexandria and Assiut, as well as those of nine other Egyptian and foreign nongovernmental organizations. Court proceedings against NDI’s staff began in Cairo on Feb. 26, 2012, and continued through the rest of 2012 with a verdict anticipated on June 4, 2013. They are charged with managing an unlicensed nongovernmental organization and receiving funds from the U.S. government without the approval of the Egyptian government.
Pictured above: Candidates at a debate organized by Partners in Change in Manufiyah