Egyptian economy | Power & Policy

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The Quest for Economic Legitimacy in Egypt

Since Anwar Sadat took over from Gamal Abdel Nasser more than 40 years ago, Egypt has gone through episodic waves of economic liberalization, from privatization to changes in fiscal/monetary policy to sectoral restructuring.

However, during this period of start-stop economic reform, there was no meaningful reform of the constitutional structure and the political system.

A closed, unaccountable polity led to the cries for freedom, demands for constitutional change and insistence on legitimate governmental institutions in Tahrir Square.

But, so, too, many Egyptians viewed the economic system as illegitimate, imposed upon them by corrupt and profligate elites for their own benefit and not affirmed through transparent processes secured by societal consensus.

Although the media have recently refocused on protests and conflicts arising in other Mid-East nations, the post-Mubarak transition, now not the stuff of front-page stories, is of surpassing importance to the future of the region. This transition will involve both a revision of the constitution to increase legitimacy and formation of a government after new elections, which will seek to adopt social and economic policies with greater transparency and wider acceptance. Continue reading >

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