In the previous articles, we highlighted three groups that are supporting Al-Sisi’s nomination. The first one is the popular movement, which expresses the general mood in the Egyptian streets. The second one if the old state movement, which encompass several groups with different goals and directions that believe in the old regime’s way and completely oppose democracy. These groups are trying to instate Al-Sisi so as to express their ideals. The third group is the possible reform movement, part of which intersects with the democratic movement. In this article, I will highlight the justification for this movement to nominate Al-Sisi.
This movement comprises the elite and so the people belonging to that movement are few, but the group remains very influential when it comes to political speech since it includes a big section of the democratic movement.
This group backs Al-Sisi for several reasons, the most important of which is that Al-Sisi has gained a lot of popularity in the Egyptian streets which would enable him to make some tough decisions relating to economic reform. The question is, how will his popularity relate to making these tough decisions? Will these decisions affect the next president’s popularity to the point it would necessitate a figure so popular that he doesn’t run out of support?
We should note that people expect from the next president to carry heavy burdens when it comes to the economic crisis and the inevitable reform, especially for the lower classes or in other words, for a large section of society. Therefore, the president should have enough popular support that could bear the consequences of such a heavy burden. This stems from an idea that is both right and wrong; the assumption that the lower classes should be the one to be affected by the consequences of the reform. Will the popular support enable people to bear to go to work on foot? Will it enable people to bear the electricity cuts all night instead of half-hour increments like what is happening in rural cities?
The second reason for supporting Al-Sisi is that the state’s administrative apparatus is corrupt, bureaucratic and in desperate need of reform. This will not be achieved except by a president from the state itself. Therefore, Al-Sisi, who comes from the core of the military institution – one that is considered the most prestigious and less corrupt – will be able to do that better than anyone outside of the state institution who will be resisted by most state apparatus.
Even though the state apparatus over several decades has been consistently destroyed and therefore suffers from a great percentage of corruption and bureaucracy, this does not mean that it will accept any reform without fighting it. So the question is: Why will the state apparatus cooperate with a president from inside of the institution? There is no logical reason for such a thing and therefore there is no evidence to support this idea.
The third reason is that the military is the biggest and strongest state institution in Egypt, and therefore choosing one of them for president will be a better way to effectively hand the responsibility of the country to the army in the coming period. However, the question is, will that be a good thing?
I believe that the next president has to make some decisions to improve the lives of people belonging to the lower classes, which will improve his popularity and support. As for the administrative reform, any serious desire for it will be fiercely resisted by a great number of high officials from inside the different state institutions. The problem is also not in the reform, but rather in a review system made up of popular political groups to monitor the reform process and the state institutions so as to streamline its performance.
Finally, I disagree with the inclusion of the military in the political arena and being responsible for the country’s affairs. Even though the interference of the military in the economic sector might benefit the country and lead to swift changes, the army’s inclusion in the political scene will enable people to criticise it greatly, which will eventually hurt the institution and its support amongst the people. This will then affect its ability to properly defend the country and save it from any possible crisis.
Farid Zahran is a publisher and writer. He is the co-founder of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party.