Four Months without Progress on Democracy in Egypt

Despite U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s call yesterday to “keep faith” with the Egyptian military’s roadmap to democratic rule, there has been virtually no substantive progress toward democracy in the country during the four months since the July 3 coup, according to the latest edition of Freedom House’s Egypt Democracy Compass.

The gaping political divide between supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi and those who favor the military-backed interim government persisted in October, as rival protests expanded to universities across the country and police used deadly force against government opponents. The authorities’ effective criminalization of the Muslim Brotherhood continued, with new arrests and legal action. An attack on a Coptic wedding party by unknown assailants reflected both the sectarian fallout of the political crisis and a broader breakdown in law and order.

Of the eight indicators of democratic progress tracked by the Egypt Democracy Compass, all were rated as “stalled” for October. This designation is particularly troubling given that most of the indicators have registered “backsliding” in previous months, meaning conditions for democracy remain significantly worse than just after the coup.

“Secretary Kerry says the roadmap is ‘being carried out’ to the best of his perception, but it seems to us that Egypt’s political transition has settled into a very degraded state,” said Vanessa Tucker, vice president for analysis at Freedom House. “True democratic progress, which we have yet to see, must be based on genuine political reconciliation and the participation of all citizens, not just those who support the current government.”

Screengrab courtesy Al Jazeera English

Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

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