April 23, 2012
Election Bans May Save Egyptian Democracy
Noah Feldman, Bloomberg
When is a democracy not a democracy? Here’s one answer: If you’re free to vote for any of the candidates on the ballot, but your favorite candidate is blocked from running. Egypt seems to have taken a big step down the path of undemocratic democracy. Its Supreme Presidential Electoral Commission blocked three of the most important, viable and potentially popular candidates from the presidential elections slated for late May. This upended the field and cast the political process into disarray. It all but ensured that the next president of Egypt will be a weak one, destined to defer to the military even if the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (do you sense a “Supreme” theme?) renounces formal political power.