Campaign professionalism and the ‘birth’ of democracy. Analyzing the 2012 first multi-candidate presidential election in post-revolutionary Egypt.
This thesis studies the first Egyptian presidential election campaigns after the 25th January 2011 revolution. It aims to answer two questions: to what extent this election was professionalised and to what extent the levels of professionalism impacted the democratisation process of Egypt. To answer these questions, the study analyses the top five presidential candidates’ campaigns, applying the professionalisation index to them; this consists of two sub-indices that assess campaign structures and campaign strategies, offers insights into the organizational and tactical development of the campaigns and how they viewed the functions of campaigning in relation to this contest. The study does this through analytical qualitative research involving interviews with campaign staff and managers as well as analysis of secondary documents and contemporary media reports.
The thesis demonstrates the crucial role campaign professionalism played in the 2012 Egyptian presidential elections. The thesis infers that the professionalism of the 2012 elections campaigns might have been the main factor that led to the success of both Mohamed Morsi and Ahmed Shafiq in the first round of elections. The thesis also argues that the professionalisatism – as applied during this election through a “do anything to win” or a “win at all costs” approach - had negative implications on the democratization process of Egypt, as it hindered Egypt’s transition to functional if thin democracy. On the contrary, it led Egypt to remain trapped in its transitional period.