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Updated Dec 12, 2023, 5:44pm EST
politicsMiddle East
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Egypt’s Sisi likely to win a third term despite economic crisis

Insights from the BBC, The Atlantic Council, and Carnegie Europe.

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REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany
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The News

Egyptians cast their final votes in the country’s election Tuesday — which analysts say is a sure win for President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, who has been in power for almost a decade.

More than 45% of the county’s 67 million eligible voters cast their ballot on the first and second days of the three-day vote, Bloomberg reports — already surpassing figures seen in 2018.

Though officials have expressed enthusiasm over turnout, many Egyptians have shown little interest in the vote, which is taking place against the backdrop of the ongoing war in Gaza on its border, shrinking political freedoms, and record inflation.

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Voters are frustrated with rising costs

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Source:  
The BBC

Inflation in Egypt hit a record high of 40.3% this year. In a country where nearly 30% of the 100 million population lives beneath the poverty line, Sisi’s critics blame the unbearable surge in the cost of living on the leader’s financial imprudence, the BBC reports. Since the Egyptian president took power in 2014, his government has spent massively on infrastructure projects, which, despite creating jobs, has left little money available for civilians coping with the economic toll of COVID. Meanwhile, Russia’s war in Ukraine drove many foreign investors to withdraw their money from Egyptian banks, an economist told the BBC, exacerbating the economic crisis.

Critics see Sisi as being complicit in the Gaza war

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Sources:  
The Atlantic Council, Bloomberg

Sisi has done little campaigning ahead of the vote — either due to being overwhelmed from keeping the Gaza war from spilling over into Egypt, or simply confident that his victory is assured, one Middle East expert from the Atlantic Council suggests. Some are enraged at the government’s handling of the ongoing conflict. “Critics see Sisi as ‘complicit’ in Israel’s killings of civilians and feel helpless and ashamed that Egypt stood idly by and allowed it to happen,” Shahira Amin writes. However, Sisi’s handling of the war has also led him to be courted by U.S. and European leaders, who hope Egypt will help alleviate the pressure on Gaza in return for financial incentives, Bloomberg reports — returning the country to its traditional role as a powerbroker in the region.

The EU doesn’t call Egypt out on its human rights abuses

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Source:  
Carnegie Europe

The European Union turns “a blind eye on the lack of political reforms” in Egypt, regional experts write in a blog post for Carnegie Europe, saying the country “supports authoritarianism” in exchange for cooperation on issues such as energy, migration and security. Roughly 55% of Egypt’s arms imports came from France, Germany, and Italy between 2015 and 2022, but EU members do little to address a pattern of extrajudicial killings and torture of oppositionists carried out in the name of combating terrorism. “As a result, the EU contradicts and ridicules its proclaimed aim to promote democratization,” the authors write.

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