looking beyond borders

foreign policy and global economy

Dictators Go, Monarchs Stay

Some months after the invasion of Iraq and the toppling of Saddam Hussein, I sat at lunch with the aging Hosni Mubarak. He was then 76 years old and hard of hearing but soon to “run” for the presidency for a fifth time in 2005. The four times previous, there had been no election at all: Parliament chose him and the people expressed their approval (or in theory, their disapproval) in a referendum. In 2005, under American pressure for reform and a political opening, Mubarak changed the rules and allowed something that looked better to take place. Parliament played no role; he ran as the candidate of his National Democratic Party (NDP); and he allowed two people to run against him. A contested election!

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