Egypt's Sisi secures third term in office
Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El Sisi has won a third term with 89.6 percent of the vote in the Arab world's most populous nation, the national election authority said.
outcome of the December 10-12 poll was widely expected after the former army
chief with a fondness for infrastructure mega-projects campaigned against a
small field of relative unknowns.
secures 69-year-old Sisi his third and, according to the Egyptian constitution,
final term in office, starting in April and set to run for six years.
victory comes despite a painful economic crisis, marked by a currency plunge
and runaway household prices, and heightened regional tensions sparked by the
Israel-Hamas war in neighboring Gaza.
inflation is running at 36.4 percent, sending up prices of some food staples by
the week and hurting household budgets in the country of nearly 106 million.
before the current economic crisis, about two thirds of Egypt's population were
living on or below the poverty line.
decade-long crackdown on dissent had eliminated any serious competition for
Sisi, Egypt's fifth president to emerge from within the ranks of the military
the third time in a decade Sisi wins a landslide victory, albeit with his
smallest margin. In both 2014 and 2018, Sisi won over 96 percent of the vote.
Retired field marshal
runner-up Hazem Omar, who leads the Republican People's Party, received 4.5
percent of the vote.
came Farid Zahran, leader of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, and
Abdel-Sanad Yamama from the Wafd, a century-old but relatively marginal party.
election authority said turnout was "unprecedented" at 66.8 percent
of 67 million registered voters. This was up from 41 percent in 2018 and 47
percent in 2014.
much of Cairo, however, the only sign Egypt was holding an election were the
ubiquitous campaign posters for Sisi, while banners for other candidates were
few and far between.
voters said that they "did not know the other candidates", while much
of the country ignored the polls entirely.
a retired army field marshal, was first voted in as president after leading the
overthrow of elected president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.
later extended the presidential mandate from four to six years and amended the
constitution to raise the limit on consecutive terms from two to three years.
administration has overseen the imprisonment of tens of thousands of political
opponents as the space for dissent has been progressively curtailed.
all-but-decimated opposition had built some momentum this year ahead of the
election, before media and public attention were diverted by the Gaza war.
brief while, some expected the election to include two main opposition figures
who -- despite having no real hope of winning -- were intended to highlight
one is in prison and the other is awaiting trial.
he was first elected, the president's popularity was dubbed
"Sisimania" and adoring supporters put his image on everything from
baked goods to key chains.
enthusiasm has ebbed from those highs but Sisi is not without his supporters.
credited with engineering a return to public order after a period of political
violence and chaos that followed the 2011 uprising that overthrew Hosni
2016 onward, he undertook a host of economic reforms in pursuit of loans from
the International Monetary Fund that have required severe austerity measures
and multiple currency devaluations.
policies, coupled with expensive mega projects -- including a 58 billion-dollar
new capital city in the desert east of Cairo -- have more than tripled Egypt's
all imports to Egypt are paid for in dollars, and a severe foreign currency
shortage has caused a parallel market to surge and pushed up consumer prices.
a decade after Sisi first promised Egyptians security and prosperity, the
economy is in freefall.
election was initially expected in the spring of 2024. But experts have said
Sisi wanted to secure a third term before enacting another widely expected
currency devaluation that is expected to fuel public discontent.