Waging Peace: Egypt
2011-2012 Parliamentary and Presidential Elections
Following the January 2011 revolution that overthrew President Hosni Mubarak, The Carter Center established a field office in Cairo to observe the 2011-2012 parliamentary and 2012 presidential elections. From November 2011 to January 2012, the Center deployed 40 observers to every governorate for three phases of voting in the People's Assembly elections. The Center's observers remained in 21 of 27 governorates for Shura Council elections in January and February 2012. The mission concluded that the People's Assembly elections took place in a still-restrictive environment but broadly represented the will of the people and marked a formative step in Egypt's democratic development. The Shura Council elections attracted limited public engagement.
The Carter Center deployed 102 observers for the presidential elections held May 23-24, 2012, and 90 observers for the presidential runoff, held June 16-17, 2012. President Carter led the runoff delegation with former Yemeni Prime Minister Abdul Karim Al-Eryani, former Jordanian Foreign Minister Marwan Muasher, and Georgia legislator Jason Carter. These elections marked the first time in the country's history that the Egyptian people chose their head of state in a direct competitive election. Because of late accreditation and other restrictions placed on observers, the Center's mission was limited to polling, counting, and tabulation. Despite public uncertainty regarding the transition, the Center found that the electoral process was peaceful and orderly and marked by a sense of hope.
Political Transition Monitoring: 2012-2014
The Supreme Constitutional Court dissolved the newly elected People's Assembly in June 2012, just before presidential election results were announced. Carter Center experts remained in Egypt to follow the constitution-drafting process and prepare for new parliamentary elections. The Center was unable to deploy observers for the December 2012 constitutional referendum because of the late release of accreditation regulations and so conducted a limited technical assessment of the process.
The Egyptian military ousted President Mohamed Morsi on July 3, 2013, and announced a new transition roadmap. The Carter Center remained to monitor political developments. Amidst an increasingly polarized political environment and serious human rights abuses, the Center did not comprehensively observe voting in the January 2014 referendum on a new constitution that had been drafted in the fall of 2013. Instead, the Center reported on the political process more broadly and on the text of the constitution. The Carter Center again deployed a team of experts ahead of the May 2014 presidential elections but declined to send a comprehensive observation mission because of the worsening human rights situation and exclusion of key actors from the political process.
The Center maintained a presence in Cairo until October 2014, when the highly restrictive political environment and crackdown on civil society organizations compelled it to close its field office.