The Egyptian Parliament, 1924–52
This chapter deals with Egyptian public finances during the constitutional era. It suggests that Egyptian administrators and politicians remembered quite well the lessons of the national bankruptcy from 1876–82. Key leaders affirmed throughout the period that successful financial management was a requirement for proving Egypt no longer needed foreign tutelage. Through parliamentary debates and various organs of public opinion Egyptians could indeed manage their own finances and maintain budget discipline, and were motivated by a nationalist economic intentionality—so much so that the coup-makers of 1952 were astonished to find Egyptian finances in quite good shape, with the treasury possessing a foreign currency surplus. Yet, political maneuvering among palace and parliamentary factions often determined the motives for, and tenor of, debates on the economy and budget. More mundane or self-serving political interests therefore combined with a larger nationalist desire to remain solvent.
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