Despite its authoritarian political structure, Egypt's government has held competitive, multi-party parliamentary elections for more than 30 years. This book argues that, rather than undermining the durability of the Mubarak regime, competitive parliamentary elections ease important forms of distributional conflict, particularly conflict over access to spoils. In a comprehensive examination of the distributive consequences of authoritarian elections in Egypt, Lisa Blaydes examines the triadic relationship between Egypt's ruling regime, the rent-seeking elite that supports the regime, and the ordinary citizens who participate in these elections. She describes why parliamentary candidates finance campaigns to win seats in a legislature that lacks policymaking power, as well as why citizens engage in the costly act of voting in such a context.
1. Introduction; 2. Political and economic change since 1952; 3. Elections and elite management; 4. The politics of infrastructure provision; 5. Electoral budget cycles and economic opposition; 6. Vote buying, turnout, and spoiled ballots; 7. Elections and elite corruption; 8. Elections and the Muslim brotherhood; 9. Liberal intellectuals and the demand for democratic change; 10. Foreign pressure and institutional change; 11. Egypt in comparative perspective; 12. Conclusion.