Thursday, 1 May 2014

Egypt: Presidential elections

The Presidential Election Commission has announced that the balloting will be monitored by 70 Egyptian and 16 international bodies. It has granted licences to a large number of local and foreign media organisations. The formal campaign will start on 3 May and end four days before polling starts on 27 May.

General Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has been preparing his election campaign with military efficiency, though he has yet to announce his programme. As there is no doubt that he will win, he may want to leave as few hostages to fortune as he possibly can and focus on presenting a vision of what Egypt might be like after an El-Sisi presidency.

El-Sisi wants Egyptians to vote in “unprecedented numbers” for the “sake of the country”. He will use a star as his election symbol showing that he will be lighting the way for Egyptians.

His only opponent, Hamdeen Sabahi, can afford to promise the earth since he knows he will not win. He is speaking of confronting terrorism by tackling its root causes and not just its symptoms. He will strive for social justice and equality and to enhance the daily lives of all Egyptians.

He is winning some support: the Socialist Popular Alliance is the latest of several small left wing parties to declare their backing for him. He is no mean campaigner and did surprisingly well in the 2012 elections. His participation will this be more than a symbolic semblance of democracy although many will call into question a process that excludes any candidate representing the Islamic stream.
This absence may lead to significant abstentions, especially in Upper Egypt and parts of the Delta. Several Islamic parties and groups have jointly called for a boycott saying that the process will be a “farce” designed to appoint "the coup orchestrator" as president.

The regime will clearly pull out all stops to ensure that there is a large turnout. 

For more news and expert analysis about Egypt, please see Egypt Politics & Security.
© 2014 Menas Associates

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