Millennium Post

Farcical voting

In an election that was nothing short of a farce, Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, swept to a landslide victory in a fight where his only challenger was a supporter of his rule. The final results gave Sisi 97.08 per cent of valid votes on a 41.5 per cent turnout. Former army-man, Sisi crushed all dissent in his bid to seek a second term in office, with five potential opponents prevented from getting on the ballot. Despite his inevitable victory, the race also highlighted discontent at his rule from within the state itself. "I don't think Sisi wants any kind of real politics in Egypt," said Hamdeen Sabahi, a former two-time Presidential candidate. Another signatory, Abdel Moneim Fotouh, was arrested in a raid on his home and later added to the country's terror list. Mohamed Anwar al-Sadat, the nephew of Egypt's former President who dropped out of the race citing the intimidation of his supporters, said that Egypt's President has created antipathy within the state by limiting power to a tight circle of trusted confidantes. But, the harsh treatment of those in the inner circle has also been matched by a crackdown on anyone seen as pushing back. The former military chief of staff Sami Anan was seized from his car in central Cairo and taken to military detention after he declared his intention to run for President. Former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik was deported from the UAE before dropping out of the race. The lineup of candidates Sisi might have faced showed that dissatisfaction with his rule runs deep even inside the military establishment. That is because his regime has been the most repressive in Egypt's modern history, having tortured or murdered thousands of real or suspected opponents and imprisoned tens of thousands of others, including even a number of innocent Americans. Under Sisi, Egypt is failing. His regime has been unable to defeat terrorist groups in the Sinai Peninsula affiliated with the Islamic State. It has increased Egypt's foreign debt by more than 75 per cent, wasting tens of billions of dollars on megaprojects while exports and tourism revenue decline. It has allowed North Korea to use its Cairo embassy to sell weapons across the region. In keeping with its affection for Arab strongmen, the Trump administration has shrugged at all this. In a pre-election letter to the acting secretary of state, the working group on Egypt urged the administration "not to treat this election as a legitimate expression of the Egyptian people's will and to withhold praise or congratulations." There was no such luck. Even as news services reported a dismally low turnout, the US Embassy in Cairo cheerfully tweeted, "As Americans, we are very impressed by the enthusiasm and patriotism of Egyptian voters." Democracy, justice and fair play have well and truly been Trumped!
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