Bashir Abdelfattah, Editor-in-chief of Democracy Review: Egyptians have little faith in political parties

Sent On: 
Tue, 2014-08-19
Newsletter Number: 




AWR, Cairo, August 19, 2014


The interest in joining a political party is very low in Egypt . Before the Revolution of 2011, not more than 2.5% of Egyptians showed an interest in activities of political parties. After the revolution, the interest in political parties increased to 4.6% but this percentage is still extremely small. Bashir Abdelfattah believes this to be due to the large number of political parties, personalized voting and a voting system that encourages clientalism. The ideology between political parties is also very diffuse. is also suffering from street politics, people believing that through frequent demonstrations, changes can be initiated.


بشير عبد الفتاح

Dr. Bashir Abdel Fattah  

Source: Alresalah


President al-Sisi did not join any political party. “He knows very well that Egyptians do not welcome political parties or trust political parties. That is why also most of the independents who are thinking seriously to join or to run for parliament without joining any political party.” 


In the past, had a de-facto bi-polar system, the NDP and the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP). The other political parties hardly played a role. Whereas the FJP has a strong ideology, organizational structure, party discipline and grassroots links, the NDP was strong through a system of clientalism.


Egypt, Bashir Abdelfattah believes, has to find a mechanism to include other political actors. The military in would like to support the development of a multiparty system but it is unclear how this would need to be done. There is a little financial support to the political parties, but it is not sufficient for parties to function, and thus many depend on the financial support of Egyptian businessmen who in turn use this to control the party of their choice. These parties also strongly rely on media to reach the electorate, which differs from the Brotherhood with their activities on grassroots level.


Discussions are currently taking place about the electoral law. Bashir Abdelfattah expects that the number of parties will reduce after the coming parliamentary elections to 10 or maybe 15.


This interview gives an extremely interesting insight in ’s growth to democratization. It is obviously a process that is far from easy. For the entire interview, please read more here.



Cornelis Hulsman

Editor-in-chief  Arab-West Report