Now that Egypt’s second presidential election within two years is finished, we can not help but hum the Pet Shop Boys classic tune, “I’m With Stupid”, poking fun at political leaders’ unquestioning allies. A few weeks ago, Qayyum expressed some optimism for Egypt’s elections on Freedom House’s blog. Now, we are “93 percent” confident that el-Sisi supporters believe that their candidate understands that it’s his job to “reckon” with the economy.
Sooo….even though Egypt’s election commission extended voting for a third day in Egypt, Abdel Fatah el-Sisi is now Egypt’s second elected president since Mubarak’s ouster. (El-Sisi served as Egypt’s former defense minister, who led the coup that removd Egypt’s last elected president, Muhammad Morsi.) The extra third voting day was granted due to low voter turnout.
His opponent, Hamdeen Sabahi, contested the results last week arguing that el-Sisi’s campaign violated the rule of campaigning within polling stations. Sabahi’s campaign withdrew its monitors from the polls, complaining that security forces there were heckling them. Sabahi’s allegation is no surprise since election rigging is commonplace in Egypt and a range of private Egyptian media outlets have favored el-Sisi’s campaign calling him the inevitable winner months before the actual election. Sabahi’s conclusions are not without evidence. On June 1st, an Egyptian NGO, the Committee for Monitoring & Evaluating Media Performance released its report that monitored how private channels pressured the High Presidential Election Commission (HPEC) and invited guests who heavily favored candidates.
In the end, Sabahi conceded to el-Sisi, who “won” about 93 percent of Egypt’s electorate–or 23.9 million votes. In the 2014 presidential election case, Egypt’s electorate was less than half the country’s eligible voting population– about 47 percent.
Accusations of unfair elections process continue: “Egypt’s repressive political environment made a genuinely democratic presidential election impossible,” Eric Bjornlund, president of Democracy International, an election-monitoring organization funded by the United States, said in a statement.
But the numbers game isn’t over: budgetary issues and targeted subsidies remain on the table for el-Sisi.
by Shaheen Pasha
There were no surprises in Egypt’s elections this week. Former general Abdel Fattah el-Sisi secured a sweeping victory after three days of lackluster turnout. His election was all but assured, given the lack of any real, credible opposition. But his real challenge lies ahead: fixing the decimated Egyptian economy. [Click here to continue.]
Sisi’s economic plan
Initial indications aren’t promising. Sisi’s “Map of the Future” economic plan, released days before the election, seems to mirror costly economic policies that were around during the Mubarak regime. The plan, calling for 48 new cities, eight airports as well as fish farms and renewable energy projects, would cost $140 billion. Sisi claims the plan will be funded by aid from Gulf countries, as well as support from Egyptians living abroad and FDI. But he gives no set plan on just how he will raise the money.
For Sisi, the election was the easy part. His win was assured. But he is taking over a country that has now overthrown two governments. To maintain public support, Egypt’s struggling economy will have to take priority in his agenda. Otherwise, he may be laying the seeds for another revolution.
To that end, Sisi faces a Herculean task. The charts below illustrate just how fragile the Egyptian economy has become in the wake of the 2011 uprising and the subsequent political turmoil in the country.