Allies of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi are now reportedly calling for his replacement in next year’s elections signalling a shaky future for the former military commander.
Although Al-Sisi has not officially declared he will be running in elections in June next year, only two people have publically challenged his seat so far with the widely held belief that Al-Sisi is still likely to win given his heavy crackdown on opponents.
However in recent months, several of his former staunch allies have come out in criticism of the leader who came to power in a military coup in 2013. Much of the criticism comes as a result of his handling of the economy and security situation in the country.
One of those criticising Al-Sisi is Hazim Abdelazim, a leading figure in the president’s official 2014 presidential campaign who has said Al-Sisi “must go”.
He wasn’t honest. He didn’t respect the law or constitution. He has drowned the country in debt, and he had given up [our] land
Abdelazim told Reuters.
Al-Sisi and his allies have continuously denounced accusations of human rights abuses by using security as a justification for the crackdown in the face of an Islamist insurgency.
Much of the backlash Al-Sisi has faced is as a result of the handing over two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia which Egyptians saw as an affront to national sovereignty.
The country is also struggling with rampant inflation in a tepid economy and an increase in attacks by groups loyal to Daesh on both civilians and security personnel despite promises of stability, economic growth and a crackdown on militants made in 2014 by Al-Sisi.
The cost of living for most Egyptians has soared following the devaluation of the Egyptian pound, tax rises and subsidy cuts introduced his government as part of an IMF loan deal.
Al-Sisi’s time in office has been marred by his crackdown on dissidence and independent media. Since 24 May, the government has blocked at least 122 news websites, according to the NGO Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression.
According to reports, there has been a 14 per cent drop in Al-Sisi’s popularity and subsequent warnings by the government against citizens participating in the polls.
Nour Al-Huda Zaki, formerly part of Al-Sisi’s campaign team, criticised Egypt’s loss of the islands as an “insult to the oath that the president swore.”
The regime that we revolted against in January 2011 has returned. This regime’s repressive tools are worse than Mubarak’s.