Workshop Summary

Project: International Security Department

Chatham House

Download the paper in Arabic العربية

This is a summary of discussions that took place at a workshop held in Cairo on 8 February 2012, bringing together a diverse group of political activists, academics, business people, NGO representatives and journalists. The discussion focused on visions and challenges for the new Egyptian state, paying particular attention to power relations, accountability and political inclusion. 

The military's continuing influence in Egypt's political life is understood to be the greatest obstacle to the emergence of a more accountable system of governance. A lack of transparency in the actions of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) is creating public mistrust over its pronouncements on wanting to cede power. 

Although much attention has focused on the role of religion in the new Egyptian state, this obscures the wider debate regarding the shape of the emerging political system. A constitution that includes effective checks and balances, provisions for the protection of minorities and a clear role for the military will provide the best framework within which to decide such matters. 

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Workshop Summary, February 2012