President el-Sisi wins Egyptian elections

2023 12 06T172615Z 1891887777 RC2RZ3AU3494 RTRMADP 3 EGYPT ELECTION CANDIDATES
FILE PHOTO: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi gestures during a joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2023. Christophe Ena/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has secured a third term as the leader of the most populous nation in the Middle East. The National Elections Authority announced on Monday that el-Sisi won 89.6% of the vote, with an “unprecedented” 66.8% voter turnout. Over 39 million Egyptians cast their votes for Sisi, a former army chief who has been in power for a decade.

The election, despite various crises in Egypt, including the Israel-Hamas war and an economic downturn, saw little doubt about the result. A decade-long crackdown on dissent has effectively eliminated any significant opposition to el-Sisi, who is the fifth president to emerge from the military ranks since 1952.

El-Sisi faced three other candidates in the election, none of whom were highly prominent. The most notable contender withdrew from the race, citing impediments to his campaign and the arrest of dozens of his supporters. Hazem Omar, leading the Republican People’s Party, emerged as the runner-up with 4.5% of the vote. Following him were Farid Zahran, leader of the left-leaning Egyptian Social Democratic Party, and Abdel-Sanad Yamama from the century-old but relatively marginal Wafd Party. El-Sisi is now poised to commence his third and, as per the constitution, final term in office starting in April.

El-Sisi ascended to power after the 2013 ousting of Egypt’s first popularly elected president, Mohamed Morsi. He secured re-election in 2018, triumphing with 97% of the vote in both previous elections. He extended the presidential term from four to six years and amended the constitution to increase the limit on consecutive terms from two to three.

During his tenure, Egypt has witnessed the imprisonment of thousands of political dissidents. While a presidential pardons committee released approximately 1,000 individuals in one year, human rights groups claim that three to four times that number were arrested during the same period. Supporters attribute to el-Sisi the achievement of restoring calm to the country after the tumultuous aftermath of the 2011 uprising that led to the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak.

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