Understanding the Praetorian Rule of Fatah al-Sisi in Egypt

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Gamal Abdel Nasser established the praetorian regime in 1952. Nasser ruled Egypt with the ‘party-state’ system to maintain the ‘social contract’ between the state and the Egyptians. The government thrived on the patrimonial relationship and de-politicization of the population. The ‘Egyptian upheaval’ in 2011 sought the protection of individuals’ rights, equality, and freedom against the military-led praetorian regime. A short-democratic experiment led to the arrival of Islamist majority rule in Egypt under the leadership of President Mohammed Morsi. The liberal-secular oppositions and the military removed President Morsi because Islamists failed to achieve the protesters’ aspirations. Egyptians supported the military’s rule that led to the election of General Abdel Fatah al-Sisi as President of Egypt. Fatah al-Sisi shifted the dynamics of government from ‘party-state’ to ‘ruler-arbiter’ praetorian rule that centralized the authority and power under his leadership through military domination to counter the Islamists and revolutionary aspirations. The research explains the causality behind the Egyptian military's intervention in politics, structuring of the praetorian regime in Egypt; the return of military praetorianism after the removal of President Hosni Mubarak; the rise of the Sisi as ‘ruler-arbiter’ and its implications on the democratization process. The paper’s method is explanatory to study the ‘structural’ (military) and ‘agential’ (Sisi’s rule) factors to determine the causes of establishing the praetorian ‘ruler-arbiter’ type Sisi’s regime. The approach to examine the ruler-arbiter phenomenon is the ‘actor-centric’ instead of the ‘mechanistic’ to understand the praetorian rule in Egypt. The research finds that the rise of the ‘ruler-arbiter’ regime under the leadership of the Sisi, caused by the military-established praetorian authority and President Sisi's choices and decisions, led to the failure of the democratization in Egypt.


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Arshad. (2021). Understanding the Praetorian Rule of Fatah al-Sisi in Egypt. PanAfrican Journal of Governance and Development (PJGD), 2(2), 119-145. https://doi.org/10.46404/panjogov.v2i2.3233
Author Biography

Arshad, University of Delhi, Delhi, India.

Dr. Arshad has a Ph.D. in International Studies from Jawaharlal Nehru University, India. He is interested in Democratization, Democratic Backsliding, and Authoritarianism. The author taught at the University of Delhi.


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