Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Egypt's Sisi set to cruise to election victory

21 May 2014, 07:36

Cairo - Having toppled the elected Islamist president and crushed his supporters, ex-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is expected to sweep next week's election to cap the bloodiest period in Egypt's modern history.

Millions who support the now retired field marshal believe he is tough enough to stamp out the unrest unleashed by the army removing Mohammed Morsi in July, while also reviving the economy.

But true democracy, the ideal millions rallied and fought for in the 2011 uprising that overthrew strongman Hosni Mubarak, might have to wait for a couple of decades, Sisi has said.

Instead, he says he will work hard to restore the economy and law and order, a vague message with enough momentum to coast him to easy victory in the 26-27 May poll.

His only rival is Hamdeen Sabbahi, a leftist politician who says he represents the ideals of the 2011 uprising against Mubarak.

With a failing economy, sporadic unrest and militant attacks, many voters in this country of 86 million people will settle for just stability.

At least 1 400 people have been killed since July in street clashes, including hundreds of pro-Morsi protesters on one day in August.

Militants have also killed almost 500 policemen and soldiers.

"The last months have been geared towards this event," said Issandr El Amrani, the North Africa project director for the International Crisis Group, of the election.

After toppling Morsi, a deeply divisive Islamist who alienated many during his sole year in power, Sisi was lionised for months before finally announcing his candidacy in March.

His campaign, such as it is, has been his track record. Sisi has yet to make a public appearance, appearing once by video conference to supporters at a rally.

"He's a fait accompli - this isn't really an open election," El Amrani said.

Security concerns

His aides say he has real security concerns, after two assassination attempts Sisi has referred to obliquely.

Much of his time is spent at a military-owned hotel where he receives delegations of supporters.

Sisi chose choreographed interviews, all but one to friendly Egyptian media, in which he declined to elaborate on his election programme.

"There are timetables for projects," he said of his economic plans in one television interview.

"Did you ever hear of a five-year plan, or a one-year plan, detailed? We don't want to forget about national security."

Such hazy messaging has already drawn some criticism, even in newspapers that support him.

"Sisi has to realise that at some point, the Wizard of Oz's faithful discovered his truth," wrote one columnist for the privately owned Al-Masry al-Youm newspaper.

Sisi has indicated he would not rush though drastic subsidy cuts to food and fuel, which would be likely to spark further unrest. But he has also indicated he would not tolerate protests.

Democratic reform

"What tourist would come to a country where we have demonstrations like this?" he told Egyptian newspaper editors.

"You write in the newspaper, 'No voice is louder than freedom of speech!' What is this?" he asked.

Sisi has also pledged that Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, blacklisted as a terrorist group after the Islamist's ouster, will not exist during his presidency.

With Morsi and much of the Muslim Brotherhood leadership in prison, along with some 15 000 others detained in the crackdown, there seems little hope of compromise.

Pro-democracy activists who spearheaded the anti-Mubarak revolt have also been jailed.

"There is no reason to think that the man who is one of those behind one of the greatest periods of repression in recent Egyptian history is interested in democratic reform," El Amrani said.

Sisi has himself indicated he does not believe the country is yet ready, telling the Egyptian editors it could take "20 to 25 years to achieve true democracy".



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...