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Will Al-Sisi run for president?

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Farid Zahran

Farid Zahran

First we will discuss the consequences of General Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi running for president. What first comes to mind is that Al-Sisi will win, of course, which would confirm the doubt that 30 June was a military coup.  This would seriously hurt Egypt’s connections with the international political scene. On the other hand, this win would lead to Al-Sisi being the focus of the political scene, making him give up his image as the powerful man of the regime who is also not responsible for fulfilling people’s demands.

The current economic situation in Egypt is very difficult; therefore, many radical economic decisions are needed to rectify the situation. These decisions will harm the popularity of the ruling regime especially if the load of solving the economic crisis falls on the lower classes of the community. This could lead to another revolutionary wave with social rather than political motives, also known as the “revolution of the hungry.” I have already written that this kind of revolution has already started. The people living in the slums have already gone out seeking a living through “thuggery,” criminal behaviour, and turning city centres to hotspots controlled by street vendors. If the regime fails to convince the people of the necessity of these reforms and contain them, they will come face to face with very angry crowds. This would also lead to many investors escaping the market and taking their money elsewhere.

On the other hand, nothing might happen. The post 30 June and 25 January regime continues to operate in the same way as the Mubarak regime; relying on placating the people rather than solving problems. I believe that the next regime will not side with the poor, but will burden them even more. This will affect the regime’s popularity. We have all witnessed how the people are blaming the current government for its inability to fulfil their demands. Meanwhile, Al-Sisi still maintains his popularity amongst the people.

Supporters of the police state push the theory of the two regimes, one that is efficient represented by Al-Sisi and Mohamed Ibrahim and the other one is a failure represented by El-Beblawi’s government and Bahaa Al-Din. The theory serves their agenda of pushing Al-Sisi to represent them and become the leader of the country and at the same time tarnishing the democratic civil state.

If Al-Sisi decides not to run to keep himself away from blame, a list of possible candidates will emerge such as Shafiq, Mowafy, Anan and Moussa. This will lead to the wasting of the anti-Islamist votes, resulting in a second round of presidential elections between an Islamist candidate such as Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh or Selim Al-Awa and another anti-Muslim Brotherhood candidate. It is expected for the latter to win. However such a second round would destroy the post-30 June regime, not just in the eyes of the international public opinion, but the Egyptian one as well. This will also boost the morale of the Brotherhood and their allies, strengthening their resolve in the political scene.

If Al-Sisi runs for presidency and wins, it will harm both the country and his image. He will have lost a lot as he transforms from being a popular and loved man to one who bears the burden of Egypt’s problems and all the blame. I have to say that Al-Sisi is not Abdel Nasser because he does not have three million acres to distribute amongst the people and he does not have the “Soviet Union” as an ally. He will not favour the nation’s poor. Conversely, if he does not run, the post-30 June regime will be seriously harmed. The second round of elections will lead to a confrontation between the Brotherhood and the regime.

Both choices seem to be not only against the country’s interests, but also against Al-Sisi’s.  Yet, there is a third option, and that is for Al-Sisi to support a civilian candidate, who is part of the democratic movement. This is provided that Al-Sisi supports a democratic state rather than a police one.

Is that possible? Can Al-Sisi side with what’s best for the country or have people succeeded in transforming him into another tyrant?

About the author

Farid Zahran

Farid Zahran is a publisher and writer. He is the co-founder of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party


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