Egypt: Presidential election system in 2005

Updated January 2012

Finding himself faced with growing international and domestic pressure for constitutional reforms that would allow the conducting of a democratically contested election, President Mubarak conducted a referendum on 25 May 2005 to amend Article 76 (requirements for presidential candidates) of the 1971 Constitution, thus replacing the yes/no referendum system (see Presidential referenda 1956 - 2005) with an election. Opposition parties called on voters to boycott the referendum, but it passed with over 80% approval (see 2005 Constitutional referendum.

The amendment of Article 76 set strict requirements for presidential candidates. Persons intending to contest in the presidential election as party candidates were required to be nominated by a party that had been registered for at least five years. Independent candidates, on the other hand, were required to obtain the support of 250 elected members of the People's Assembly, the Shura Council and elected local councils, of which 65 were required to be members of the People's Assembly. It is important to note that the parliament and councils were dominated by members of the ruling ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) at this time, thus making it almost impossible for any potential independent candidate to win the required support. In the end this new election regime governed only the 2005 elections, for Mubarak was overthrown before his final six year term was completed.