Promises In Transition

by Patrick Appel

The Muslim Brotherhood has vowed that it won't field a candidate for the Egyptian presidency should Mubarak step down. Which makes Joshua Tucker ask:

[S]uch a "guarantee" raises a larger question: how does anyone actually hold opposition forces to promises made during a transition period? And this is especially crucial if we think that in order for someone like Mubarak to give up power, he has to be convinced that the opposition will honor promises it makes during negotiation to remove him from office (such as, for example, not to throw him in jail.) There is a large literature stemming from Latin American transitions on the importance of what came to be known as "pacts", or deals between the regime and the opposition during an actual transition. However, it remains an open question how exactly these "pacts" can be enforced at a later date.