With Abdel Fatah al-Sisi assured of re-election, the campaign has focused on boosting turnout
Egyptians are going to the polls on Monday in an election that is almost certain to result in victory for the president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, after all credible opponents were prevented from getting on the ballot.
The country’s 60 million eligible voters have a choice between the incumbent and a little-known candidate who has previously expressed support for Sisi.
There is little doubt as to the outcome of the presidential race. But how long does Sisi plan to stay in charge?
On Monday the polls will open in Egypt so that voters can elect their president. The results are not in doubt: barring some truly staggering development, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi will begin his second term. That too should have a certain outcome, ending in his departure from office under the constitution’s two-term limit. Will it?
This is a meaningful election in the same way that the 2013 power seizure that brought Mr Sisi to the top was not a coup. The truth is obvious; the question is whether it is more convenient for some to ignore it. As in the 2014 election, he faces a single opponent – in the loosest sense. Mousa Mostafa Mousa, a vocal supporter of Mr Sisi until his abrupt decision to stand, told one interviewer that he was “not here to challenge the president”. Most assume, despite his denials, that he is running solely to lend a veneer of credibility to events. Five other candidates have been jailed or otherwise taken out of contention. Rights organisations have denounced the contest as farcical, warning that Egypt is in the grips of the worst human rights crisis in decades. Mr Sisi’s recent claim that he wished he faced more challengers suggests only a hitherto undiscovered sense of humour. But there is nothing funny about the ruthless crushing of dissent since the army overthrew the elected Muslim Brotherhood president, Mohamed Morsi (now in jail), and massacred hundreds of his supporters.
Abdel Fattah al-Sissi orders military to ‘clear Egpyt’s territory of terrorist element’
Egypt has launched a massive offensive against Islamic militants in the Sinai peninsula, seeking to end a bloody conflict that has killed hundreds of civilians and soldiers in recent years.
A military spokesman said the operation would cover large parts of Sinai plus parts of the Nile delta and the western desert, where other militants have waged attacks.
Egypt’s president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a former general, ordered the military to defeat militants in north Sinai within three months after an attack on a mosque in November killed 300 people, the deadliest such incident in the Arab world’s most populous country.
US vice-president, visiting Egypt, tries to reassure key Arab ally over Israeli-Palestinian impasse
US vice-president Mike Pence has told Egypt’s leader that the US would support a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians if the two sides agreed to it, seeking to reassure a key Arab ally over Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Pence was in Egypt on Saturday on the first leg of a three-country tour that includes stops in Jordan and Israel.