Government, Political Parties
multiparty system, Socialist Labor Party, constitutional ban, People's Assembly, National Democratic Party
From 1923 to 1952 Egypt had a multiparty political system, but the king or his prime minister often limited the partiesí ability to compete freely for popular support or governmental power. From 1952 to 1978 Egyptís government was effectively a military dictatorship, and the presidents used a succession of single parties to mobilize public opinion to support their policies. In 1978 a multiparty system was again instituted, but religious parties continued to be banned. The present political system tolerates greater diversity of opinion, but it is not yet fully democratic.
Since 1978 the National Democratic Party has been the dominant party. In elections in 2000 it won 353 of the 444 elected seats in the People's Assembly. The government tolerates opposition parties that are not based on religion or on ideologies hostile to the state, but it often restricts their ability to propagate their policies and to run candidates for national or local elections. Legal opposition parties include the New Wafd Party, the National Progressive Unionist Party, the Liberal Socialist Party, the Socialist Labor Party, and the Nasserist Party. Despite the constitutional ban on religious parties, many Egyptians support the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic Group, or other technically illegal political movements that are not allowed to present candidates for legislative elections.
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