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Looking for a presidential extra

Image of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in Cairo, Egypt on April 20, 2017 [Egyptian Presidency / Handout/Anadolu Agency ]
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in Cairo, Egypt on April 20, 2017 [Egyptian Presidency / Handout/Anadolu Agency ]

There is one more year left until Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi's presidential term is over and new presidential elections are held. Since Al-Sisi has hinted on more than one occasion that he intends to run in these elections, there is a need to find an alternative now. Therefore, preparations are being made to find a new extra who will play the role of legitimising Al-Sisi's re-election, thus giving Al-Sisi another presidential term. This extra will give the world the illusion that he was elected in a democratic manner by means of free and honest elections through the ballot box.

This is all despite the fact that the ballot boxes are controlled by them, the elections are held under the supervision of the army, and the rigging and deceit occurs even before the elections are held, which is what happened in the last elections. During those elections, they brought Hamdeen Sabahi to play the role of the extra opposite Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in a farcical play where he came in third, after Al-Sisi, while the votes for the second place candidate were voided.

Although these elections are already determined before they are held and there is no fear for Al-Sisi, he is still afraid to hold them and hopes he wont have to. That is why there were several attempts to cancel them, including attempts to amend the constitution to extend presidential terms to six years rather than four. However, there were too many obstacles in the way and Al-Sisi was unable to overcome them. Now, he is trying to cause a frenzy in the country in order for voices to emerge from his corrupt media mouthpieces and say that the situation is not conducive to holding elections, claiming that the country is in a sensitive and delicate situation. They will also claim that Egypt is targeting and is currently engaged in a battle against terrorism, so it is not logical to hold elections under such conditions. These media mouthpieces have indeed, already started to make such claims.

In order to complete this farcical play, the extra, Hamdeen Sabahi has emerged after a long absence, since he last played his role in the precious play to wage a fierce attack on Al-Sisi accusing him of putting Egypt in grave danger by continuing to rule Egypt. Are they considering using this extra again, even though his card has been burned, as he said he is willing to back any civilian candidate agreed up by the national forces?

Hisham Geneina, former head of Egypt's Accountability State Authority, who was removed from his position and abused in courts merely because he said that the corruption in the sovereign state bodies amounts to over $33 billion, also re-emerged. He emerged in the Karama party, a cartoon party set up by the security agencies in the country, despite supposedly being a Nasserism party. Geneina said that it is the right of any Egyptian citizen to run in the presidential elections. Are they considering Geneina as an extra is the upcoming elections with the promise of settling all the charges against him? Or are the sovereign forces manipulating Al-Sisi and trying to replace him with a civilian puppet in order for them to rule the country from behind the curtains, while appearing to be a civil, not military rule, to the world? This way, it can continue to control all the state institutions from behind the curtains.

This may be especially true since Al-Sisi has failed on every level and it has become clear to everyone, those abroad who sponsored his coup and those inside who supported him. During his term, an unprecedented economic decline occurred in Egypt, putting the country on the verge of bankruptcy and the collapse of the Egyptian pound. The US dollar now equals 18.5 Egyptian pounds, while the foreign currency reserves declined in the Central Bank, despite the billions of dollars that were granted to Egypt by the Gulf countries since the coup and the IMF loan. He also lost the foreign currency reserves on nonsensical projects in order to promote himself, such as the new canal in Suez, which he called the New Suez Canal, which depleted many dollars from the banks and was the main reason for the rise in the price of the dollar. However, this project did not achieve any additional financial returns to that already achieved by the canal. On the contrary, the canal has brought in less revenue given the decline in the number of ships that pass through it, for a number of reasons, and given the fact that there are cheaper alternatives, such as the Panama Canal.

The project of re-cultivating one million acres which he promoted turned out to be a lie, as there is insufficient water for irrigation. This re-opened the subject of Ethiopia's Renaissance Dam and his concession of Egypt's historical share in the Nile water by signing an agreement with Ethiopia surrendering Egypt's rights. He also gave up some of Egypt's land by selling the Tiran and Sanafir islands in Sinai to Saudi Arabia.

There is also the matter of the potential terrorism which he claimed to exist after staging his coup against the legitimate President Mohamed Morsi. He demanded a mandate from the people to fight this potential terrorism, and now there is real terrorism in Sinai. Everyday we witness the martyrdom of soldiers and police officers after the conflict turned into a revenge battle between the people of Sinai and the army and police who kill innocent people in their indiscriminate bombing of Sinai!

He has ruled for three failing years and has brought nothing but destruction to Egypt, yet he still wants to run in the next elections and no one knows what is actually going on behind the scenes. "You know not; it may be that Allah will afterward bring some new thing to pass."

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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