Middle East Research and Information Project: Critical Coverage of the Middle East Since 1971

For undemocratic regimes in a democratic age, elections are an extremely valuable tool. They create opportunities for limited popular participation, disarm domestic and international critics, and enhance political monitoring and control by revealing the relative political strength of government and opposition candidates. Such elections are successful to the extent that they maximize tolerated competition and minimize the residual uncertainty that accompanies even the most managed poll. It is no mystery, then, why authoritarian elites convene elections. The paradox is why they constrain themselves in fixing them.

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How to cite this article:

Mona El-Ghobashy "Egypt’s Paradoxical Elections," Middle East Report 238 (Spring 2006).