The political and media scene in Egypt is witnessing a state of great anticipation following the announcement by the National Electoral Commission of the presidential elections in Egypt, which would be the third presidential elections after the January 25 revolution. Elections are sought to be held between 8 February 2018 and April 2018 if there is a runoff, which I do not think would happen.
There is no doubt that the political environment in Egypt is still abhorrent to the idea of political pluralism and the multiplicity of candidates. As soon as anyone tries to run, they are attacked by many. This is completely unhealthy, and it shows that we will spend a long time in the stage of democratic transformation we live in now.
There are pragmatic difficulties facing the candidates. Most of the different media will not welcome any candidate who competes with President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, even if this candidate’s chance is already weak, which represents a very closed mindset by those who control the political scene from behind the scenes.
Meanwhile, many questions are emerging about the National Electoral Commission in its first official mission and whether or not the strict rules announced would be applied equally to the candidates. Moreover, will the committee have strong mechanisms and technical, professional committees that will help them not to interfere with candidates in the election campaign and especially with regards to the supporters of the current president? Is there a need for a three-day presidential election, or will the expected turnout be much lower than the previous presidential elections because the candidates so far are not such strong competitors? I believe that one or two days are enough to achieve the objectives of the National Electoral Commission.
All are nothing but legitimate questions pending answers to be inked by time and by the National Electoral Commission itself.
There is no doubt that there will never be a re-run in April because all evidence to date confirms the current president’s victory by at least 90%.
It is clear that the presidential elections will pass quietly, although we wish there were strong candidates to ensure the elections are real, competitive, honest, and fair, but it is clear that it will take time for all of us to absorb the stage of democratic transition.