Egypt is not “ready for democracy” according to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi who was speaking ahead of next week’s presidential elections where he is expected to win an overwhelming majority in a virtually uncontested campaign.
In a TV interview aired on local television this week, Al-Sisi explained how he is not to blame for the fact that the presidential race has become a one man race aside from a unknown candidate who himself is pro-Sisi.
“There are some people saying: ‘we know he is going to win, we want someone to be standing against him’… and there is nothing wrong with that. I swear to God, I wish there were ten [candidates] standing against me of the best people and you could choose as you like from us. But we are still not ready yet,” Al-Sisi said.
However a continual crackdown on dissent and the opposition since taking office in a military coup in 2013 has defined Al-Sisi’s first term in office and stopped opposition candidates from running in the elections.
Former military chief of staff, Sami Anan, was arrested after he announced his intention to run in January and his candidacy was prevented due to him still being enlisted in the military.
Ex-prime minister Ahmed Shafiq was also forced to withdraw his candidacy after he went missing upon his return to Egypt. Shafiq had been deported from the UAE days after announcing his plans to run in the elections.
Lawyers, colonels, and the nephew of former president Anwar Sadat were all also forced to withdraw their candidacy. Moussa Mustafa Moussa remains the only candidate running against Al-Sisi in order to prevent him from running uncontested.