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The National Democratic Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization working to support and strengthen democratic institutions worldwide through citizen participation, openness and accountability in government.

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Authorities confiscate equipment and documents from the NDI office. Photo by Sarah Carr.

On Dec. 29, 2011, security forces raided NDI’s offices in Cairo, Alexandria and Assiut as well as those of Egyptian and other international organizations. During the raid, equipment, documents, and money were confiscated and have yet to be returned. They provided no warrant, explanation for the search, or inventory of the items seized. It is regrettable and ironic that the money taken from NDI’s Cairo office was to be used to support an international election delegation that was accredited by the Government of Egypt to witness the third stage of the People’s Assembly elections.

Since the raids, there have been numerous false or misleading allegations related to NDI’s status in Egypt and its work. The purpose of this statement is to provide an accurate account of NDI programs and the Institute’s ongoing efforts to register.

In November 2005, NDI opened an office in Egypt and applied for registration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In a meeting with NDI, the then-Minister assured the Institute that all of its papers were in order and that the registration would be approved within four to five weeks. (See registration application).

Since that time, NDI has maintained open, transparent and constructive relationships with the government of Egypt, sharing with the authorities all major program activities conducted by the Institute. NDI was repeatedly told that registration would eventually be granted. At no time was NDI asked to stop its work or close its office.

Periodically, and most recently in June 2011, NDI inquired of the Foreign Ministry as to the status of the application for registration and whether or not additional paperwork was required. The Institute was verbally notified that the papers were in order, and that the registration was still pending.

In April 2011, NDI was provided a new two-year grant totaling $14 million to assist Egyptian democratic reform efforts.  These US taxpayer funds were approved by the Congress and allocated by the Department of State and the United States Agency for International Development. NDI’s program represents less than one-half of 1 percent of the total US financial assistance to Egypt during the same two-year period.

Since April, NDI’s programs have included the sharing of 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 non-partisan voter education.  At no time has NDI funded any political party or protest movement. The Institute does not seek particular electoral outcomes; and does not align itself with any political party, ideology or candidate.  All programs are designed to support public confidence and participation in key political processes as defined in the constitutional referendum.

NDI hopes that the confiscated items will be returned promptly, that its registration application will be approved, and that the Institute can resume a constructive dialogue with the appropriate authorities about its work and legitimate efforts to support the democratic process in Egypt. 



Published Jan. 2, 2012