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Egyptians are like camels: they can put up with beatings, humiliation and starvation for a long time but when they rebel they do so suddenly and with a force that is impossible to control.

Alaa al Aswany, b. May 1957. Egyptian writer and founding member of the political movement Kefaya. ‘On the State of Egypt: A Novelist's Provocative Reflections.'


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Given its demographics and its history, it was probably inevitable that Egypt’s first essay into democratic rule should prove short-lived. If politics is the art of the possible, for Egypt’s beleaguered President Morsi the year 2013 had more to do with confronting the inevitable. In June 2012 the Muslim Brotherhood’s man won just over half the vote in the presidential election; in September 2012 his approval poll rating had been over 70 per cent. But then the percentage began to fall – to barely 30 per cent, a figure that roughly corresponded to the size of Mr Morsi’s Islamist base. When even that base percentage showed signs of shrinking, the writing was probably on the wall for Mr Morsi. By mid 2013 Egyptians were confronted by increasingly polarised electoral options: either support the military or support Mohammed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood.

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Key Facts

Key Facts:

Key Facts
Official name: Jumhuriyat Misr al Arabiya (Arab Republic of Egypt)
Head of State: President Abdel Fattah el Sisi (Independent) (sworn in 9 June 2014)
Head of government: Acting Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab (from 1 Mar 2014)
Ruling party: No ruling party as such
Area: 1,001,499 square km
Population: 86.70 million (2014)
Capital: Cairo
Official language: Arabic
Currency: Egyptian pound (LE) = 100 piastres
Exchange rate: LE7.83 per US$ (Sep 2015)
GDP per capita: US$3,304 (2014)
GDP real growth: 2.16% (2014)
GDP: US$286.44 billion (2014)
Labour force: 26.19 million (2011)*
Unemployment: 13.37% (2014)
Inflation: 10.10% (2014)
Oil production: 717,000 bpd (2014)
Natural gas production: 48.70 billion cum (2014)
Balance of trade: -US$30.83 billion (2014)
* estimated figure


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