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This study investigates whether individuals’ attitudes towards democracy and

secular politics have any influence on voting behavior in Egypt. Based on data

from a survey conducted immediately after the Egyptian parliamentary elections

in January 2012, this study finds that Egyptians’ attitudes towards democratic

governance were quite negative around the parliamentary elections, yet Egyptians

still endorsed democracy as the ideal political system for their country. However,

empirical findings suggest that support for democracy has a limited impact on

electoral results. On the other hand, the main division in Egyptian society around

the first free and fair parliamentary elections was the religious-secular cleavage. As

people support secular politics more, they become significantly less likely to vote

for Islamist parties. These results illustrate that preferences in regard to the type

of democracy – either a liberal and secular or a religious democracy – were

the main determinant of the historic 2012 elections in Egypt.

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