The president is a candidate

تم نشره في Sun 30 March / Mar 2014. 08:10 PM - آخر تعديل في Sun 30 March / Mar 2014. 08:12 PM

By Fahed Khitan

The main headline in a Lebanese newspaper about Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi running for presidency was more than enough: "The president is a candidate."

One cannot find a more accurate description than this; Sisi is the next president of Egypt, and the statement he made on this occasion was not part of an electoral program, but the outlines of his policy in the government, which in any case is not bad at all.

The man showed deep understanding of the suffering of the Egyptians and their priorities for the next phase; employment, decent life, and better standards of living.

He was keen on being realistic, and on not raising the of expectations of the people too much when he talked about the difficulties that lie ahead for Egypt, and the need to work hard to overcome this transitional phase, with all the economic, political, and security-related challenges.

Sisi promised the people that he will not run via a traditional campaign; festivals and speeches in public squares — that may be difficult for Sisi under the prevailing security conditions as he is the most wanted man on the list of the extremist groups, whom he excluded from power in Egypt.

Opinion polls of the ruling institutions in Egypt suggest that the popularity of Sisi receded in recent weeks. For many reasons, Sisi lost much of his popularity, one of which is abstaining from running for presidency enough that it seemed like he is “gracing” the Egyptian people with his decision.

The behavior of his pro-Sisi-media also damaged his popularity, in addition to the policy of exclusion the transitional government took up against non-Islamist opposition, who were in favor of a military intervention.

This decline in his popularity, according to polls, was reflected in ballots; of the 53 million Egyptian eligible to vote, the polls had no more than 27 million in the best case, after it was forecast to be around 35 million voters in the previous months.

Sisi 's fate depends on several basic things: Firstly, the team who he will chose to manage the affairs of the country in the next phase. According to reports from Egypt, Sisi relies heavily on the experience of former candidate in the presidential election, Amr Moussa; veteran politician, who is managing his campaign, and supervised the preparation of his electoral program, in collaboration with a team of political advisers, military and economic. In the forefront of his team is the renowned economist Mohammed Al Arian, who holds a U.S. passport, and had worked within the administration of President Barack Obama in his first term — he is an established expert.

The reports suggest that Amr Moussa will assume the presidency of the House of Representatives after the legislative elections slated after the presidential elections. However, the identity of the prime minister is not yet clear.

The second challenge facing Sisi is his ability to restore security and stability, which strengthens both the economy and development efforts in Egypt.

Here, the security approach alone is not enough; Sisi must sincerely work towards national reconciliation, and overcome the exclusion policy. Regardless of the actions taken by the military and security agencies, he will not be able to exclude fundamental powers within Egypt.

The dependence on the GCC’s aid, as is said in his statement, is not a solution to the problems of Egypt; a day will come when the flowing billions will stop, and the Egyptians should be prepared to rely on themselves.

Will Sisi succeed or fall and turn into a new military dictator, who will cast Egypt into a new revolution?

@fahed_khitan

 

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic edition.

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