In the first parliamentary elections after Mr. Mubarak’s overthrow in February 2011, the Muslim Brotherhood’s newly formed Freedom and Justice Party had won nearly half the seats in the People’s Assembly. The Muslim Brotherhood, had, over the two previous years, gained political expansion in parliament. The Brotherhood entered into a coalition with other Islamist parties including two Salafist parties, forming an Islamist bloc, but their experience ended with their removal from power and significant changes in the structure of the Brotherhood.
Based on the political programs of the Islamist parties in Egypt, this article seeks to analyze the experience of Islamists in power by focusing on their practical perceptions of the Islamist political system.
The article concludes that the political Islamist organizations lacked a coherent mechanism to propel them from the stage of the organization’s (political party) management to a stage of state administration. Egyptian Islamist groups had no specific perception of the nature of the state, or of an applied model to implement the “Islamic state.” Although these groups had a declared project, which they had been attempting to establish for decades, their focus was solely on discussing the expected outcome they had hoped to achieve, while neglecting to elaborate on how their affairs could be run, once in power. This shortfall was due to an accumulation of the multiple problems the groups had faced, whether they be conceptual reasons of state, power issues, or the organizational obstacles strewn along the paths of the components that comprised the group, which had prevented them, over decades, from overcoming them. Hence, the traditional mechanisms they continued to apply while in power proved inadequate in responding to the crises inherent in the experience of government. They failed to introduce new mechanisms to address the issues as dictated by the necessity for practical experience and solutions once they had attained power.