For the second time in two years, Egyptians are voting for a new president.
You see, it was el-Sisi who led last summer’s popular ousting of Egypt’s first freely-elected civilian president Mohamed Morsi. Morsi was ousted after days of mass demonstrations. (Via Al Ahram)
Ever since, a wave of so-called "Sisi mania" has swept the country, painting the commander as a national hero and gaining him a cult-like following. (Via France 24)
Perhaps this essay in Egypt's state-run paper Al Ahram summed up the sentiment best. "El-Sisi's freshly washed countenance and youthful zeal shield a Herculean strength and nerves of steel. He wears the feathers of a dove but has the piercing eyes of a hawk." (Via Al Ahram)
Assuming he does walk away with a victory, there are many challenges ahead for el-Sisi — he’ll be tasked with reviving Egypt’s faltering economy and putting down an Islamist insurgency. Most importantly, he’ll inherit a deeply divided country.
To his supporters, he’s the strong leader Egypt needs to restore order. But to his detractors, he represents a return to authoritarian rule. (Via CCTV)
Since Morsi’s ousting, the military — with el-Sisi at the helm — has cracked down on the former president’s supporters in The Muslim Brotherhood, thrown thousands in jail and designated it a terrorist organization. (Via Euronews)
As the Los Angeles Times notes, critics fear the crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood will worsen if el-Sisi is elected president.
A writer for The Guardian points out “authoritarianism has not succeeded in remedying Egypt's many ills in the past, and there is no reason to believe it will do so now. Therein lies Sisi's greatest challenge: to learn from the mistakes that have plunged Egypt in successive crises.”
A poll conducted earlier this month found 72 percent of Egyptians backed el-Sisi, two percent planned on voting for Sabahi and the rest were undecided. Official election results are not expected for at least another week.