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Supporters of Abdel Fattah el-Sisi celebrate at Tahrir Square after the presidential election results were announced. Photo: Getty Images.

The Egyptian presidential election has shown that the regime of Abdel Fattah el-Sisi still enjoys support among the same constituencies that opposed the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood in June 2013. However, there has been a noticeable transformation within the regime’s support circles. Part of it has shifted from an active and unreserved support in 2014 towards a passive and conditional one in 2018.

Where supporters of the regime once showed their support by taking to the streets in 2013 and readily casting their votes in the 2014 election, many did not turn out this time. While around 25.5 million votes were cast in favour of Sisi in 2014, he received only 24.3 million this time, despite the total number of citizens with the right to vote increasing from 53.9 million in 2014 to 59.1 million in 2018.…  Seguir leyendo »

An Egyptian woman casts her vote March 27 at a polling station in Cairo, during the second day of the presidential election. (Amr Nabil/AP)

During the last week of March, Egyptians headed to the polls to award incumbent President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi a second term. The event was an election in name only — and many Egyptians intentionally invalidated their ballots to register their protest.

Successive candidates from the military, civil society and the Islamist movement were pressured out of the race before campaigning even began. Sisi eventually faced off against a handpicked candidate, Musa Mustapha Musa, an uninspiring Ghad party official, who has been described as “an obscure toady gleaned from the scrap heap of fourth-rate politicians.” In the lead-up to the election, the Sisi regime observed “few boundaries on its untamed repression of all forms of dissent,’’ jailing, deporting or otherwise silencing any semblance of opposition.…  Seguir leyendo »

A banner shows Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi with an Arabic message that reads, “You are the hope,” in Cairo on Wednesday. (Nariman El-Mofty/AP)

Egypt is approaching a critical moment. Since last fall, the popularity of President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi has steadily diminished not only among the public and many of Egypt’s secular and Islamist intellectuals but also among key supporters of his regime. He’s still going to win the sham presidential election scheduled for March 26 to 28. But there are many signs that his second term might not last for as long as he hopes.

Sissi has unleashed a crackdown on dissent that has no parallel in the country’s modern history. Yet this campaign is falling short of its intended objectives. Now discontent is brewing among the ruling elite, including the military.…  Seguir leyendo »

Volunteers help voters identify their polling stations in 2015 during the final day of the first round of parliamentary elections in Fayoum, Egypt. (Eman Helal/AP)

Later this month, Egyptians will go to the polls to reelect Abdel Fatah al-Sissi to his second term as president. An all too familiar scenario is playing out: Sissi is the only viable candidate. His sole challenger, Mousa Mostafa Mousa, is the head of a party that had endorsed Sissi before entering its own candidate at the last minute. Other potential challengers were threatened, intimidated or arrested into withdrawing.

The regime’s harassment and deterrence of potential opposition candidates do not always lead to calls for boycotting. This time, however, 150 opposition figures and seven political parties came together to denounce the elections as a farce and call for a boycott of the upcoming polls.…  Seguir leyendo »

In this Jan. 29, 2018 file photo, a supporter holds a poster showing President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi in front of the National Elections Authority in Cairo, Egypt. (AP)

As Egypt approaches its upcoming presidential election this month, its allies and critics have largely reconciled themselves to the inevitable re-election of President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi. The regime has aggressively culled the field of potential competitors through intimidation, harassment, prosecution and detention.

The real struggle for Egypt’s fate will come after the election, when the regime will seek to amend the constitution to extend presidential terms and abolish term limits.

This could present an important opportunity for Egyptian political actors and civil society to focus attention, build alliances and begin the longer-term process of laying the groundwork to restore civilian-led politics.…  Seguir leyendo »

A campaign poster for President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt in Cairo this month. Credit Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters

Which country, due to hold a presidential election next month, is led by an autocrat who, having eliminated any serious competition, is basically running against himself?

Hints: A political analyst in that country has said, as a reminder of the deliberate ineffectiveness of electoral competitors, “Some figures are allowed in, like backup dancers.” Indeed, the most serious challenger to the incumbent president has been barred from contesting the election, which denies him a platform to broadcast accusations of corruption that could involve the president.

The answer, of course, is Russia, where President Vladimir V. Putin has eliminated all serious competition, most notably Alexei A.…  Seguir leyendo »

On Oct. 18, Egypt began the first phase of parliamentary elections, but many voters shunned the balloting and turnout is estimated at a measly 15 percent. Most Egyptians seem to have decided that the election results are a foregone conclusion, with a new parliament that will kowtow to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s iron-fisted regime in the absence of any meaningful opposition.

When Sisi and the Egyptian military ousted the country’s first democratically elected president two years ago, they promised a quick return to democracy and civilian rule. But like much else in Egypt’s modern history, those promises did not materialize. Instead, Sisi has turned into a strongman.…  Seguir leyendo »

Les 26 et le 27 mai prochains, un événement d'une importance considérable se déroulera de l'autre côté de la Méditerranée : les élections présidentielles égyptiennes. Ce pays, le plus grand et le plus peuplé du monde arabe (90 millions d'habitants), disposant d'une armée solide, est l'une des clés de la stabilité du Proche-Orient.

Or, l'Egypte a traversé, depuis trois ans, de violents soubresauts internes. Elle a connu deux révolutions successives, en 2011 contre le régime de Moubarak et en 2013 contre la dictature des Frères musulmans. Celles-ci, bien qu'étant le fruit d'une vive volonté populaire, ont profondément fragilisé le pays sur les plans politique, sécuritaire et surtout économique.…  Seguir leyendo »

La ‘primavera presidencial’

Hace tres años, unas revueltas populares derrocaron a cuatro presidentes vitalicios árabes, poniendo de relieve el grado en que los sistemas políticos clientelares que habían construido para mantener su dominio se habían atrofiado y habían perdido su capacidad de resistencia y recuperación. Incapaces de digerir las tensiones y desafíos generados por el cambio social y económico, se habían convertido en frágiles y vulnerables además de perder el control de la denominada primavera árabe.

Una clase muy distinta de primavera está en marcha, ya que cuatro países árabes se acercan a las elecciones presidenciales o las han celebrado estos meses. Sólo uno de ellos –Egipto– tuvo de hecho su primavera, mientras que Siria se halla sumida en una brutal guerra civil y el régimen argelino se las ha arreglado para fragmentar y neutralizar cualquier tipo de oposición popular.…  Seguir leyendo »

This time the Islamist revolution was peaceful and power was captured through the ballot box, but the anti-Islamists overturned the will of the people with the backing of the military.

The echoes of the violent counter-revolution will reverberate through much of the Arab and Islamic worlds. Egypt is a pivotal state and what happens inside its borders matters well outside it. It is not the Islamists who have warned that Islam is not compatible with democracy. Rather, their opponents have demonstrated that democracy cannot be reconciled with political Islam even when it is peaceful.

In December 1991, Islamists won the first round of elections in Algeria and were poised to win the second round in early 1992, but were prevented from taking office and exercising power by the military which stepped in.…  Seguir leyendo »

With Egypt caught between a military reluctant to cede the reins of power and a recently elected Islamist president eager to take hold of them, a steady stream of senior American officials has landed in Cairo to nudge the two sides toward compromise. But by focusing on the struggle between ruling elites and their commitment to the peace treaty with Israel, Washington is neglecting Egypt’s larger problems — those that incited an apathetic population to overthrow a president in office for three decades.

Following the revolution last year that toppled Hosni Mubarak, the generals that replaced him forged an alliance with the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood he repressed.…  Seguir leyendo »

Jubilant chants echoed far beyond Tahrir Square when the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate, Mohamed Morsi, was confirmed as Egypt’s first civilian president last week. Mr. Morsi’s election was lauded across the globe, and many are hailing today’s “transfer” of power as a triumph for democracy.

But there is little reason for celebration. In this latest grand spectacle manufactured by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, the generals symbolically respected the people’s choice while using the election to further entrench their unaccountable political autonomy.

In February 2011, most analysts assumed that Mr. Mubarak’s government had collapsed. They were wrong. The regime never changed.…  Seguir leyendo »

The election of a Muslim Brotherhood leader to the presidency of Egypt arrived in Israel like delayed thunder after a burst of lightning: It was not a surprise, but it still provoked nervous attention.

Mohammed Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president, comes from an organization that has a long history of opposition to peace with Israel and even to the very existence of the Jewish state. And yet, the situation may not turn into a disaster — at least not any time soon.

In the face of uncertainty, there is time for Israel to prepare for the worst. Israel must remain strong.…  Seguir leyendo »

On Sunday, when my laptop wasn't talking at me from a kitchen counter, it was cradled open on my arm. We waited for the results of the presidential elections. They were late – days late. Then they arrived, and the figures droned on to screaming point. But Judge Farouk Sultan was right to do it this way; he had to blow away all the suspicions and prove his committee's results beyond reproach.

The people had once again surprised them(our)selves: in the last few hours of the second round what had looked like a 15% turnout was transformed into 52%. We can assume that everyone who voted for either candidate in the first round went out and did it again – but then Mohamed Morsi got an additional 8m votes and General Ahmed Shafiq an additional 7m.…  Seguir leyendo »

Egypt’s newly elected president, Mohammed Morsi, says he will be a “leader for all Egyptians.” That sounds a lot like the sorts of lies his fellow Muslim Brothers have been telling for months, only to renege on them when they can. We ignore the true character and ambitions of the Muslim Brotherhood - in Egypt, elsewhere in the Mideast, in the wider world and here - at our extreme peril.

In fact, the Brothers’ bait-and-switch gambits are standard operating procedure for their secretive organization. After all, from the Brotherhood’s inception in Egypt in 1928, it has been a revolutionary organization committed to the imposition worldwide of a totalitarian, supremacist Islamic doctrine they call Shariah.…  Seguir leyendo »

Preliminary election results show that the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi is likely to become Egypt’s next president. But even if Mr. Morsi is declared the official winner later this week, Egypt’s first popular presidential election will not have been a democratic milestone.

With the Supreme Court’s ruling dissolving Parliament and the military’s declaration curtailing the presidency’s authority, Mr. Morsi will be a toothless figurehead under the thumb of an authoritarian military council that doesn’t seem likely to relinquish power anytime soon.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has tightened its grasp on power, giving itself control of legislation and the national budget, the right to appoint a panel to draft a new constitution, immunity from democratic oversight, and the power to veto a declaration of war.…  Seguir leyendo »

Egypt's tumultuous political process took another dramatic turn Thursday when its Supreme Constitutional Court effectively dissolved parliament, ruling that the election of one-third of its members last year was unconstitutional. The court also ruled that former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq can remain a presidential candidate in this weekend's runoff election, despite his close association with the former regime.

These back-to-back rulings have immediately strengthened the hand of the "old guard" at the expense of the Islamists, who held more than 70% of the seats in parliament before it was dissolved.

While some Muslim Brotherhood leaders are referring to the court's decisions as a "full-fledged coup," it is more accurate to see recent events as an energetic "counter-revolution."…  Seguir leyendo »

Despite yesterday's tumultuous events, millions of Egyptians will nevertheless head to the polls this weekend to pick their first post-revolution president. Egypt's constitutional court has invalidated the recent parliamentary election but has allowed Hosni Mubarak's former PM, Ahmed Shafiq, to continue to stand for president . As the only other remaining candidate, I alone represent an unequivocal departure from the old regime that was toppled by the revolution of 2011.

I was nominated and elected by constituents – parties, groups, and individuals – who marched the streets of Egypt calling for change. I was jailed by the old regime. I belong to the middle classes that were sold out by the old establishment.…  Seguir leyendo »

After the first competitive elections in Egypt's history, many Egyptians find themselves straddling the divide between the deposed regime of Hosni Mubarak and its 84-year-old Islamist adversary, the Muslim Brotherhood. Polarization has long been a problem for Egypt. Now there is more of it than ever.

The two candidates who received the most votes will face off in the second round in mid-June. The Brotherhood's candidate, Mohamed Morsi, is trying to get liberals and leftists to hold their noses and vote for him. Ahmed Shafiq, the last prime minister of the old regime, promises to save Egypt from the "dark forces" of Islamism.…  Seguir leyendo »

On the surface, the first round of the Egyptian presidential election seemed to show that the Muslim Brotherhood and the remnants of the Mubarak regime are locked in mortal combat for the political soul of Egypt -- as Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi faces pro-military candidate Ahmed Shafik in a second round of voting in June.

Buying into this simplistic formula, however, would be a total misreading of the far more complex picture. To understand the political reality of Egypt and the strengths and weaknesses of the major political forces operating in the country, one needs to look more closely at all of the electoral results.…  Seguir leyendo »