Abdel Fattah El-Sisi Wins Third Term as Egypt’s President
Abdel Fattah El-Sisi secures a resounding third term as Egypt’s president, winning a staggering 89.6% of the votes in an election where serious challengers were notably absent. The National Election Authority made the announcement on December 18, marking a continuation of El-Sisi’s presidency amid economic challenges and regional tensions.
Election Context and Regional Dynamics
Taking place against the backdrop of Egypt’s slow-burning economic crisis and concerns over spillover from the Gaza conflict, the election saw heightened voter support for El-Sisi due to his perceived role as a stabilizing force in the region. The president’s stance resonated not only with the domestic electorate but also garnered support from key Gulf and Western allies, providing crucial financial backing to his government.
Controlled Election Environment
The election, held from December 10 to December 12, reported a turnout of 66.8%, a significant increase from the 41% recorded in the 2018 presidential election. However, critics argue that the electoral process lacked genuine competition, with accusations that the state apparatus and security agencies were employed to prevent serious contenders from participating.
Allegations of Manipulation
Hossam Bahgat, head of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), criticized the election process, stating that there were no real elections, as El-Sisi controlled the entire state apparatus. Allegations of targeting opposition supporters were raised, although these were dismissed by the National Election Authority.
Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, a former general, has been at the helm since the overthrow of Egypt’s first democratically elected leader, Mohamed Mursi, in 2013. The constitution was amended in 2019, extending the presidential term to six years from four and allowing El-Sisi to seek a third term.
While some applaud El-Sisi for infrastructure developments, including a new capital, others criticize such projects as extravagant, given the country’s rising debt and soaring prices. Security remains a priority for El-Sisi’s supporters, citing benefits for various groups under his rule.
Despite efforts to address human rights concerns, critics argue that these measures are cosmetic. Many Egyptians expressed indifference toward the election, viewing the outcome as predetermined. Reports of voters being bussed in, financial incentives, and pressure from employers raised questions about the authenticity of the electoral process. Authorities emphasized that providing money or goods in exchange for votes is a criminal offense.
Category: International / World Current Affairs