‘Turn Out To Vote Even If You Don’t Choose Me’ – Egypt’s President El Sisi
On Monday, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi received a standing ovation when he declared his intention to run for office again in a televised, 16-minute address at a conference hall filled with members of his government and hundreds of cheering supporters.
He confirmed he will be seeking another 6 years in office in elections scheduled for December, promising that if elected he would revive Egypt’s largely stagnant political life and rebuild the country by focusing on “modernity and democracy”.
Egyptians Feeling A Disinclination Towards Change
Nonetheless, El Sisi’s decision to run in the election was widely expected. He is also widely predicted to win, barring unforeseen circumstances. The former army general was first elected in 2014, the year after he, as defence minister, led the military’s ousting of Mohamed Morsi.
Many Egyptians also feel a disinclination towards change after the years of turmoil that followed a 2011 uprising. They have also grown accustomed to leaders from a military background since the ousting of the monarchy 70 years ago.
Should he win the election, El Sisi will have served 16 years as the top leader when his third term concludes. A year following the 2018 election, a parliament packed with the president’s supporters proposed amendments to the constitution that extended terms from 4 to 6 years.
In the December vote, El Sisi’s potential chief challenger is an outspoken former MP and one of the leader’s prominent critics. Ahmed Tantawy has raised concerns over hundreds of his supporters and members of his campaign allegedly being arrested in recent weeks.
Presidential Elections And Record Inflation
The upcoming election will be held at a time when Egypt is struggling with a crushing economic crisis that the president has consistently blamed on the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukraine war. But his critics maintain overspending and excessive borrowing were major contributors.
Foreign debt stands at more than $160 billion. The Egyptian pound has lost half its value since March last year and millions have been pushd into poverty – with a record inflation and foreign currency crunch substantially suppressing imports.