The General seemed shaken, tense and trembling during his latest speech at the opening of one of his nonsensical projects. This was despite his attempts to cover this up by making threats to the forces of evil; he was not specific, but remained content to call on the people to take to the streets and give him a mandate to fight these evil forces, whoever they are. He said that anyone who wants to eliminate Egypt must eliminate him first. He has thus more or less reduced Egypt to himself; Egypt is Al-Sisi, and Al-Sisi is Egypt.
Herein lies the danger of the level that General Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has raised himself, as his request violates the Constitution that was drafted against his wishes, and which outlines his authority. Furthermore, countries are not governed by calling for mandates, but rather in accordance with the Constitution, law and authorities. However, calling for a mandate and issuing threats to peaceful political forces who call for a boycott of the elections because they do not trust them to be honest, open and fair, is absolutely shocking.
Participating in or refraining from elections is a political decision and the complete and absolute right of any political body. No one, in any government respecting the basic rules of democracy, has the right to resort to issuing threats against such a peaceful protest or describe those calling for it as evil.
What is absolutely forbidden is to push the army into any conflict or clash with political groups. The national army is a state institution and a pillar of the state and should act accordingly. It should not interfere in peaceful political life at all. However, the General insists on involving the army in all of his actions, according to his speeches.
He has admitted to not being “a politician” and this statement is an unfortunate irony, as he is in Egypt’s top political position. How has he governed the country’s domestic and foreign political affairs as the President for the past four years? And how can he now re-nominate himself for another term in the upcoming elections? To make matters worse, Al-Sisi said that he has been studying the meaning of a state for 50 years and is still studying. This means that the president of the oldest state in history, whose people created their civilisation over 7,000 years ago, is still studying the meaning of a state. Then why is he a candidate for the most senior political position in Egypt before completing his studies and receiving his diploma?
Since talk of the presidential elections began, the General has made several statements regarding his refusal to allow a corrupt individual to be President. These statements were strange, since those who will allow or not allow a person to be elected in a democracy are the people. They are the only ones with the right to prevent someone from being elected through their ballot boxes in honest and free elections, not the sitting President. It is his duty as the President of Egypt and as an ordinary citizen, to provide evidence of an individual’s corruption and to put the person on trial before a fair judiciary in order for them to rule on the case based on the facts. They can then decide if his nomination will be accepted or not. However, this cannot be done based on accusations directed by a President who is himself running for a second term.
The emergency law in Egypt was renewed immediately before the date of the elections was announced, and the protest law is still in effect, both of which restrict any large-scale mass movement or contact between the candidates and the people. Furthermore, given what happened with Ahmed Shafik, followed by Sami Anan, and the threats that Al-Sisi issues illegitimately regarding who he will allow to be President, the elections have turned into somewhat of a referendum rather than free elections with guaranteed neutrality, justice and integrity.
As such, the political forces have the right to decide whether or not they want to participate in the elections or boycott them. They even have the right to demand that they are stopped and that the entire election process be repeated once guarantees are provided that they will be open and fair, and held once the emergency law and protest law have been stopped for the duration of the campaign, as the protest law violates even the most basic freedoms. They can ask for the elections to be held under state institutions which are neutral, and media agencies which are balanced towards all of the candidates. They have the right to do this without being hit with allegations that belong in the time of tyranny and dictatorship.
The General, however does not know this because he is not a politician, and is still studying the meaning of a state.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.