Israel's Political Formations

by Joel Beinin
published in MER129

Alignment: The dominant party in the Labor Zionist movement was the right social-democratic Mapai. In 1965, a group loyal to Mapai’s historic leader, David Ben-Gurion, split and formed Rafi -- a formation characterized by an “activist” military policy and a technocratic/statist outlook. This group included Shimon Peres, Moshe Dayan and Yitzhak Navon. The same year the first Alignment, an electoral coalition and not a merger of forces, was formed between Mapai and Ahdut ha-Avoda, a kibbutz-based party with a tradition of military activism and close links to the military establishment (best represented by Yigal Allon, Deputy Prime Minister under Golda Meir and author of the “Allon Plan” for the occupied territories).

Israel's "National Unity"

by Zvi Schuldiner
published in MER129

Israel’s latest elections, for the eleventh Knesset, have certified the state of paralysis and polarization that has gripped the country since the Lebanon invasion of 1982. The results of the election, and the failure of the Likud bloc to maintain a decisive plurality, certainly represent one consequence of the Lebanon war. When Menachem Begin resigned as prime minister in the fall of 1983 without any public explanation, many Israelis attributed this move to the Lebanon “tragedy,” as Begin himself referred to the continuing war in a Knesset speech just before his resignation. Clearly a great many Israelis consider the war a failure -- even a nightmare.

Egypt's Elections, Mubarak's Bind

by Bertus Hendriks
published in MER129

In the May 1984 general elections in Egypt, the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) won almost 73 percent of the vote. The new Wafd got just above 15 percent. The other three contenders failed to get the eight percent minimum needed for a seat: the Socialist Labor Party (‘Amal) got just over seven percent; the National Progressive Unionist Party (Tagammu‘) got just over four percent; the Socialist Liberal Party (Ahrar) did not exceed one percent. These “lost” votes accrued to the biggest party, the NDP, which thus took 390 seats to the Wafd’s 58 seats. [1]

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Sisiphus

by Andrea Teti , Vivienne Matthies-Boon , Gennaro Gervasio | published June 10, 2014

Over three days in late May, ‘Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi, the retired field marshal and former head of military intelligence, was elected president of Egypt with 96 percent of the vote. This tally was far higher than the 51.34 percent recorded in 2012 by the man Sisi helped to depose, Muhammad Mursi, and higher than the 88.6 percent racked up by Husni Mubarak in the rigged contest of 2005. Since the only other candidate, Hamdin Sabbahi, scarcely disagreed with Sisi on matters of policy during the campaign, a Sisi victory was a foregone conclusion, even if the margin was not.

The Turkish Elections of 1983

by Feroz Ahmad
published in MER122

The elections of November 1983 are unique in the history of modern Turkey. They took place after three years of military rule, during which the entire political structure was completely altered. The alleged aim of this restructuring was to prevent a return to the situation which prevailed before September 12, 1980, the day the Turkish armed forces seized power. The military regime crushed the terrorist movements and closed down all the political parties, and simultaneously produced a new quasi-presidential constitution as well as new political parties and electoral laws. The government disqualified all prominent former politicians from political activity and permitted only new politicians to begin to form new parties on April 25, 1983. The National Security Council (NSC) -- led by Gen.

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Local Elections Set Turkey's Political Configuration

by Feroz Ahmad
published in MER124

The local elections held last March 25 decided the political future of Turkey -- barring any further military intervention -- until 1988, when the next general election is scheduled. This is why these elections were more important than the general election of November 6, 1983. This time all the political forces in Turkey were able to participate: SODEP (the social democratic party), the True Path and the Welfare Party were able to test their strength against the three parties represented in Parliament, namely, Motherland, Populist and Nationalist Democracy.

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An "Electoral Uprising" in Iran

by Kevan Harris | published July 19, 2013

“Last night I sat in traffic with my wife and daughters for three hours,” a Tehran office manager recounted, “and the car did not move one meter.” The day before, Iranians had chosen Hassan Rouhani as the Islamic Republic’s seventh president. “All the cars honked their horns, and people danced and celebrated next to us in the streets.” The last time the manager had beheld such a scene was in June of 2009. “Four years ago I was also in my car with my wife and daughters, and traffic did not move, and cars were honking. But that time security men on motorbikes rode through the street smashing windows with their batons.” The contentious events of 2009 not only ensured four more years for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the president’s office but were also heralded as signaling the death of reformist politics in Iran. Yet as another presidential election approached, the three-decade political improvisation called the Islamic Republic once again went off script.

Interview with Mohamed Sid-Ahmed

by Joe Stork
published in MER147

Mohamed Sid-Ahmed is a Contributing Editor of this magazine and Managing Editor of Al-Ahali, the weekly of Egypt’s left opposition party, Tagammu‘. Joe Stork spoke with him in Washington in early May.

 

You recently attended the Palestine National Council meeting in Algiers. What were your impressions?

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Egypt's New Political Map

A Report from the Election Campaign

by Bertus Hendriks
published in MER147

Compared with 1984, the atmosphere of the 1987 Egyptian elections was decidedly less free. The outcry of the opposition in 1984 primarily concerned the forged results on election day itself. [1] In 1987, the pressure on the opposition during the campaign was much stronger. The Emergency Law, extended almost routinely every year since Husni Mubarak came to power, offers the regime an array of measures for interfering in the campaign. Administrative detention was used to intimidate opposition militants. A country-wide wave of arrests of Muslim Brothers, particularly prospective poll watchers, started a few days before the elections. According to the Amal Party newspaper, Al-Sha‘b, ten days later more than a thousand were still detained.

Egypt's Elections

by Erika Post
published in MER147

If the riots of February 1986 ushered in a year of doubt about the future of Husni Mubarak’s regime, the events of early 1987 appear to indicate that he has consolidated his position both domestically and internationally. [1] Mubarak upstaged the opposition and enhanced his legitimacy by calling new parliamentary elections in which opposition forces were able to significantly increase their representation in the National Assembly. The government party, however, remains firmly in control of the parliament, virtually assuring the president's renomination in the fall for another six-year term, and approval of a new standby loan agreement with the International Monetary Fund.

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