The Draft Party Platform of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood: Foray Into Political Integration or Retreat Into Old Positions?

The production of a political platform by Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood is a sign that real developments — some encouraging, some worrying — are occurring in Egyptian politics. While the Muslim Brotherhood is prevented by the government from forming a political party,the release of a platform signaled what sort of party they would found if allowed to do so.
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The production of a political platform by Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood is a sign that real developments—some encouraging, some worrying—are occurring in Egyptian politics. While the Muslim Brotherhood is prevented by Egypt’s government from forming a political party—a ban unlikely to be overturned in the near future—the release of a platform signaled what sort of party they would found if allowed to do so, according to a new report from the Carnegie Endowment.

In The Draft Party Platform of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood: Foray Into Political Integration or Retreat Into Old Positions?, Senior Associates Nathan Brown and Amr Hamzawy analyze the draft platform’s mixed signals—surprising progressive reforms; regressive, controversial stances; and the chances of achieving a consensus on the anticipated final document. 

Encouragingly, the platform advances notions of freedom of religion and expression, pluralistic politics, property rights, women’s enfranchisement, and state sovereignty. Yet it also called for the establishment of a council of elected senior religious scholars, effectively placing the government under the scrutiny of an extra-constitutional entity—a regression from more moderate positions upheld by the movement’s leadership in recent years.

Key Conclusions:
• The platform was designed to regain momentum following a marked increase in government restrictions on the Brotherhood after their success in the 2005 parliamentary elections. However, caught between the expectations of loyal activists, who strongly support the implementation of shari’a law, and alienating the more moderate public, disputes among Brotherhood leaders over the platform showed confusion and a lack of consensus over strategy at this critical juncture.

• The platform fails to address how the future political party would relate to the broader social movement.  The Brotherhood ignores both the experiences of Islamist parties in Morocco, Jordan, and Yemen, who advocate a functional separation between the party and the movement, and a major constitutional hurdle by failing to address opening membership to all Egyptians.

• Public debate about the platform has focused exclusively on the major contentious issues to the exclusion of detailed economic and social positions. For example, the economic strategy advocates a strong interventionist state, yet the platform also calls for a limited social role for the state, with a larger role for civil society and NGOs.

• While the final platform is expected to exclude women and non-Muslims from holding Egypt’s top office, recent statements by key leaders indicate that the Brotherhood would accept a democratic referendum by the Egyptian people on this matter.

“Brotherhood leaders were aware from the beginning of the limits of what a platform could accomplish. At most it could show Egyptians what a Brotherhood party would look like, but the regime, the law, and now the constitution seem to be far more serious obstacles than public opinion to a Muslim Brotherhood party. The platform shows that the movement is still very much struggling with how to handle the demands of its ambition to be a normal political actor. But no amount of internal debate is likely to reassure a regime that seems unable to accept any serious political actor as a legitimate partner in Egyptian political life,” the authors concluded.

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About the Authors
Nathan J. Brown, a nonresident senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment, is a professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University where he directs the Institute for Middle East Studies.

Amr Hamzawy is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment and is a noted Egyptian political scientist who previously taught at Cairo University and the Free University of Berlin.

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About the Middle East Program

The Carnegie Middle East Program combines in-depth local knowledge with incisive comparative analysis to examine economic, sociopolitical, and strategic interests in the Arab world. Through detailed country studies and the exploration of key crosscutting themes, the Carnegie Middle East Program, in coordination with the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, provides analysis and recommendations in both English and Arabic that are deeply informed by knowledge and views from the region. The program has special expertise in political reform and Islamist participation in pluralistic politics.


In Fact



of the Chinese general public

believe their country should share a global leadership role.


of Indian parliamentarians

have criminal cases pending against them.


charter schools in the United States

are linked to Turkey’s Gülen movement.


thousand tons of chemical weapons

are in North Korea’s possession.


of import tariffs

among Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru have been eliminated.


trillion a year

is unaccounted for in official Chinese income statistics.


of GDP in oil-exporting Arab countries

comes from the mining sector.


of Europeans and Turks

are opposed to intervention in Syria.


of Russian exports to China

are hydrocarbons; machinery accounts for less than 1%.


of undiscovered oil

is in the Arctic.


U.S. government shutdowns

occurred between 1976 and 1996.


of Ukrainians

want an “international economic union” with the EU.


million electric bicycles

are used in Chinese cities.


of the world’s energy supply

is consumed by cities.


of today’s oils

require unconventional extraction techniques.


of the world's population

will reside in cities by 2050.


of Syria’s population

is expected to be displaced by the end of 2013.


of the U.S. economy

is consumed by healthcare.


of Brazilian protesters

learned about a massive rally via Facebook or Twitter.


million cases pending

in India’s judicial system.

1 in 3


now needs urgent assistance.


political parties

contested India’s last national elections.


of Egypt's labor force

works in the private sector.


of oil consumed in the United States

is for the transportation sector.


of Chechnya’s pre-1994 population

has fled to different parts of the world.


of oil consumed in China

was from foreign sources in 2012.


billion in goods and services

traded between the United States and China in 2012.


billion in foreign investment and oil revenue

have been lost by Iran because of its nuclear program.


increase in China’s GDP per capita

between 1972 and today.


billion have been spent

to complete the Bushehr nuclear reactor in Iran.


of Iran’s electricity needs

is all the Bushehr nuclear reactor provides.



were imprisoned in Turkey as of August 2012 according to the OSCE.

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