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More work in store for Egypt now

Business Times - 19 Feb 2011


More work in store for Egypt now

Following the overthrow of an authoritarian leader, it needs to fire up an underperforming economy

By LEON HADAR
WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT

AS EGYPTIANS and others celebrate the downfall of former president Hosni Mubarak, they need to recognise that the overthrow of an authoritarian leader is not a guarantee that his oppressive rule will be replaced with liberal and democratic institutions. In fact, the overthrow of the monarchy in 1952 brought to power a military regime. And it has remained in control - even now, after Mr Mubarak's resignation.

Moreover, free and open elections are only one element of a functioning liberal-democratic system that includes among other things, independent political institutions, a free press and the protection of the rights of women and religious minorities. Without a political culture that nourishes and upholds these freedoms and a set of constitutional and legal constraints on the government, …