Legalising Authoritarianism in Egypt

Presented by ANU College of Arts & Social Sciences

This talk examines the ways in which successive Egyptian governments have utilised lawmaking to eliminate opponents and silence voices of dissent since the coup of 3 July 2013. Key examples include the adoption of a draconian protest law and anti-terrorism laws. Most recently, the legislature passed a bill that, subject to the president's approval, is poised to significantly curtail the autonomy of civil society organisations. By restricting freedom of expression and association and clamping down on voices of dissent, these legal initiatives have helped upgrade the repressive bureaucratic tools at the disposal of the government.

Professor Amr Hamzawy studied political science and developmental studies in Cairo, The Hague, and Berlin. He was a senior associate in the Middle East program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace from 2005 to 2009. Between 2009 and 2010, he served as the research director of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, Lebanon. He has also served on the faculty at the American University in Cairo, Cairo University, and Stanford University.

Professor Hamzawy is a former member of the People's Assembly. He was elected to the Assembly in the first parliamentary elections in Egypt following the 25 January 2011 revolution. He is also a former member of the Egyptian National Council for Human Rights. His publications include: A Margin for Democracy in Egypt - The Story of a Failed Transition, (in Arabic), Cairo: The Egyptian-Lebanese Publishers, 2014; On Religion, Politics, and Democratic Legitimacy in Egypt, Carnegie Middle East Center, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (in English and Arabic), 2013.

Professor Hamzawy's visit to the ANU Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies is supported by the Council for Australian-Arab Relations' (CAAR), through its International Speakers Program. The CAAR is a non-statutory, regional council in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).