Democracy and pluralism in the North African transitions

The political transitions in North Africa appear to be faltering, with the early stages of democracy showing the dangers of political competition as much as its benefits. But what are the prospects for pluralistic politics in the region?    


Amr Darrag (Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Freedom and Justice Party Egypt)

Nathan Brown (Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, George Washington University)

Anthony Dworkin (Senior Policy Fellow ECFR)

Chaired by

Daniel Levy (Head of the Middle East and North Africa programme, ECFR)

The political transitions in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya seem to be in a precarious state. Governments based on a democratic mandate are in power and new constitutions are being written, but the advent of democracy seems to be causing polarisation and crisis. Should people be concerned about the political systems emerging in Egypt and elsewhere, or is this turmoil simply part of the process of adjusting to democratic life? What are the prospects for pluralistic politics in the region?

This discussion will explore these questions with one of the key political figures from Egypt’s transitional process and one of the world’s leading authorities on democratization in the Arab world. It will focus on events in Egypt, but also consider the state of affairs in the other North African transitional countries. The event coincides with the publication of the ECFR report “The Struggle for Pluralism after the North African Revolutions” by Anthony Dworkin.

Amr Darrag is chairman of the Freedom and Justice Party’s (FJP) Foreign Relations Committee and is one of the party’s founding members. He was formerly the secretary-general of Egypt’s Constituent Assembly and was the head of the FJP’s Giza branch. Dr Darrag was previously a Professor in Cairo University's College of Engineering.

Nathan Brown is Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at George Washington University in the United States. His principal works and publications focus on the government and politics of the Middle East, democratisation, constitutionalism, and the rule of law.  He is a former Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Anthony Dworkin is a senior policy fellow at ECFR, where he works on human rights, democracy and international justice. He is the author of several publications for ECFR on EU support for democracy in North Africa.

Daniel Levy is the Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at ECFR. He is also a Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation, and a founding co-editor of’s Middle East Channel. Levy was a former Israeli official peace negotiator and adviser in the PM’s office.