Egypt: Stable, but for How Long?
September 1, 2000
The regime of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak seems to haveescaped from the challenges of the 1990s with a steadier political configura-tion. Mubarak appears poised to rule for at least another decade; even if hewere to leave office during that time, political succession would almost cer-tainly be smooth and orderly and would preserve the status quo. The trade-off for stability, however, has been that the regime now relies on a narrowerbase of support than was the case just ten years ago. For the first time sincethe 1952 revolution, the Egyptian government has abandoned any pretenseof populism; it has opted for elite support and back-room deals rather thanbroad public support or a vibrant political life. In the longer term, the chal-lenge for the system as it was reconstituted in the 1990s will be whether ithas the durability to survive an economic downturn, social unrest, or both.