As voters lined up outside the polls in Cairo Saturday, music blared and some among the crowds danced and waved Egyptian flags. Many people held flyers with a photograph of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and a green checkmark. The message? Vote “yes.” If passed, the constitutional changes proposed in the ballot could extend the president’s rule to 2030, and deepen the military’s role in communities. The Egyptian Parliament overwhelmingly supported the changes and announced the national vote on Wednesday. Results are expected by April 27. Opponents to the measure say the changes will roll back the democratic dreams of 2011, when a popular uprising lead to the ousting of 30-year dictator, Hosni Mubarak and that the referendum is marred by corruption and coercion. Supporters say a secure leadership will make Egypt safer and help the country climb out of economic crisis. “The legislative impact would be basically handing over all powers to the presidency,” explained Hisham Kassem, a veteran Egyptian publisher and analyst in an interview ahead of the vote.
Egypt’s parliament is accelerating the process of passing constitutional amendments that would allow President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi to stay in office well beyond the end of his current term in 2022. Lawmakers will decide Wednesday on whether to send the amendments to the legislative committee, a vote that was initially scheduled for Feb. 17, parliament spokesman Ahmed Saad el-Din said late Sunday. The legislative committee will have 60 days to discuss the amendments before a final vote. If approved, the amendments would be put to a national referendum. The move to extend presidential terms comes amid concerns that Egypt is slipping back into authoritarianism eight years after a pro-democracy uprising ended Hosni Mubarak’s nearly three-decade rule.
Egyptian lawmakers have proposed changes to Egypt’s constitution, including amendments to expand the military’s powers and to allow President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to remain in office following the end of his second term, and potentially until 2034. The amendments have sparked controversy in the country, drawing mixed reactions from members of parliament, analysts and activists. The suggested alteration to Article 140 of the constitution would extend presidential terms from four to six years, and changes to Article 200 would allow the military to ensure “that the principles of the June 30 Revolution are observed,” which means preventing Islamists from ever rising to power. The amendments are being packaged with progressive changes, to make them more palatable to the public.
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi’s victory in last week’s election was never in doubt, but the vote produced a surprise runner-up — an unusually large number of invalid ballots, suggesting a possible protest vote against el-Sissi or the election itself. Official figures released Monday by the election commission gave el-Sissi 97 percent of the vote, securing him a second, four-year term in office following an election in which he ran virtually unopposed. His sole challenger, Moussa Mustafa Moussa, a little-known politician who made no effort to challenge him, received 656,534 votes, or 2.92 percent. Moussa’s tally was outdone by the 1.76 million invalid ballots, which would have amounted to 7.27 percent of votes cast, a considerably higher percentage than in the last two presidential elections: 4.07 percent in 2014 and 3.1 percent in the 2012 runoff.
The Egyptian president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, is expected to declare a landslide victory after an election in which his only challenger was a supporter of his rule. Preliminary results released last Thursday indicated that roughly 40% of the electorate turned out to vote, with 92% choosing Sisi. On Friday, this was revised to 42%, with Sisi securing 96.9% of valid votes, exactly the same as his last electoral victory in 2014. Mousa Mostafa Mousa, the alternative name on the ballot, whose party previously endorsed Sisi, initially came in third place to spoiled ballots, but was later awarded 3.1% of the vote. Friday’s unexplained revision suggested there were no spoiled ballots at all. Official results were due to be released on Monday afternoon.
From modern downtown bookstores to dusty street-corner bookstands where venders peddle Xeroxed copies of international best-sellers, one new release has proved popular this winter in Cairo: translated copies of Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.” Ahmed, a thirty-one-year-old bookseller in Tahrir Square, the epicenter of Egypt’s 2011 revolution, told me that Egyptian readers found the bluntness of America’s new President entertaining. “Trump is funny,” Ahmed said, declining to give his last name. “He says what he thinks.” For Egypt’s democracy and human-rights activists, Trump is something far different: an enabler of repression who has embraced Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi as he carries out the most repressive crackdown in the country in decades. Three days after taking office, Trump phoned Sisi and effusively pledged his support for the authoritarian ruler. When Sisi visited Washington last spring, Trump warmly welcomed him to the White House, reversing an Obama Administration policy of declining to meet the former general because of his government’s sweeping human-rights abuses.
Early results from Egypt’s election showed President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi headed for a landslide victory with 92 percent of the vote, state media reported Thursday, an unsurprising margin in a race where he eliminated all serious opposition months ago. Mr. Sisi’s token opponent, Moussa Moustapha Moussa, received just 3 percent of the vote, less than the number of spoiled ballots, state media said. With his main rivals in jail or forced from the contest, Mr. Sisi relied on voter turnout to demonstrate his popularity. State media said that about 40 percent of voters cast ballots during the three days of voting that ended Wednesday, down from 47 percent in the 2014 election that formalized Mr. Sisi’s power.
The woman in a long black shawl bustled up to a stall on a back street in the crowded Nile Delta city of Tanta, 50 miles north of Cairo. “Where’s my subsidy box?” she demanded. “My brothers and sisters in Cairo have already received theirs. When do I get mine?” The woman, Soad Abdel Hamid, a housewife, was referring to boxes of subsidized food — cooking oil, rice and sugar, mostly — promised to voters in many poor areas in return for casting their vote in Egypt’s presidential election. With no real opponent to provide drama in his re-election bid, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is relying on the sheer enthusiasm of his supporters to generate a credible turnout. And where fervor isn’t enough, he has other means of enticing — or pushing — voters to the polls.
One manager threatened employees to get them to vote — and then checked for telltale ink-stained fingers as they clocked in the next day. A regional governor pledged improved water and sanitation service to towns with a high turnout. Some people were promised more food and even cash if they went to the polls. With President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi running virtually unopposed in this week’s election, Egypt’s leadership has made clear it considers a high turnout crucial to ensuring that the balloting has credibility. For months ahead of the balloting that began Monday and runs through Wednesday, pro-government media have pushed the message that voting was a patriotic duty to foil foreign plots against Egypt.
Egyptians are going to the polls on Monday in an election that is almost certain to result in victory for the president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, after all credible opponents after all credible opponents were prevented from getting on the ballot. The country’s 60 million eligible voters have a choice between the incumbent and a little-known candidate who has previously expressed support for Sisi. But amid concern that the personality campaign that inspired “Sisi-mania” before the 2014 election is likely to be met with widespread voter apathy this time, the government has mounted a fierce campaign in an attempt to boost numbers at the polls. Turnout is seen as the only issue that will be in doubt in this election.
Abdel Fattah al-Sisi needs no election campaign. The general-turned-president’s crackdown on challengers and dissent, which critics say surpasses that before Egypt’s 2011 uprising, has already ensured he will win a second term. Central Cairo is nonetheless adorned with banners and billboards proclaiming support for Sisi, who led the overthrow of Egypt’s first freely elected president in 2013 and returned the military establishment to power. Next Monday, seven years after the Arab Spring protests that ousted Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak and others in the Middle East, Egypt will once again hold the kind of vote that kept those leaders in power for decades.
Mostafa al-Asar’s lawyer said he had barely started work on a documentary critical of Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi when police arrested him and charged him with publishing “fake news”. The journalist was detained before he had even begun filming, his lawyer said. The government did not respond to requests for comment. The arrest on Feb. 4 came ahead of a presidential election later this month which Sisi is virtually guaranteed to win. All opposition candidates except one have dropped out citing intimidation, while the remaining challenger has said he supports the president. The election commission says it has been receptive to any complaints and the vote will be fair and transparent.
Egypt: The opposition is calling for a boycott of this month’s election. Will it work? | The Washington Post
Later this month, Egyptians will go to the polls to reelect Abdel Fatah al-Sissi to his second term as president. An all too familiar scenario is playing out: Sissi is the only viable candidate. His sole challenger, Mousa Mostafa Mousa, is the head of a party that had endorsed Sissi before entering its own candidate at the last minute. Other potential challengers were threatened, intimidated or arrested into withdrawing. The regime’s harassment and deterrence of potential opposition candidates do not always lead to calls for boycotting. This time, however, 150 opposition figures and seven political parties came together to denounce the elections as a farce and call for a boycott of the upcoming polls. As with most boycott campaigns, the opposition’s decision has roused its share of detractors who dismiss the strategy as ineffective and even a threat to Egypt’s security. The situation in Egypt raises a critical question: Do boycotts work?
Voting in Egypt’s presidential elections for Egyptian expatriates begins on Friday morning. The voting committees in the embassies of Egypt abroad will open their doors at 10:00 am on Friday for a period of three days, according to the National Elections Commission the days announced are March 16, 17 and 18 to choose one of the candidates for the presidency. The candidates are President Abdul-Fattah Al-Sisi, represented by the star symbol and candidate Mousa Mustafa Mousa, head of Al Ghad Party using the plane icon. The voting takes place in 139 committees in 124 countries abroad, at the headquarters of 123 embassies and 16 Egyptian consulates under the supervision of 714 Egyptian diplomats.
The election billboards of President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi are everywhere in this bustling capital. They read: “Yalla Sissi” — “Go Sissi” in Arabic — urging him on for a second term. Egyptian voters will struggle to find a billboard for his only challenger. That obscure candidate, after all, said weeks ago that he wants Sissi to remain as president. Moussa Mostafa Moussa has so far not given speeches, made television commercials or bought newspaper ads seeking votes. On March 4, his first election rally was attended by no more than 25 supporters. As leader of the centrist Ghad Party, Moussa has been one of Sissi’s staunchest supporters and part of a well-orchestrated effort backing Sissi for a second term. Last weekend, Moussa told a state-owned television program that he doesn’t want to debate Sissi because he’s “not here to challenge the president.”
Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, Egypt’s president, could not ask for a better mouthpiece than Khairy Ramadan, a talk-show host. When activists started a Twitter campaign to mock the president, Mr Ramadan proposed banning the social network. And like Mr Sisi he calls the revolution of 2011, when the previous strongman, Hosni Mubarak, was overthrown, a foreign plot. But during his show on February 18th, Mr Ramadan talked of a police colonel who earns 4,600 pounds ($261) per month. To supplement his income, the colonel’s wife sought work as a cleaner. Mr Ramadan, who confessed to having a “soft spot” for the notoriously brutal cops, wondered why they were paid so little. He can now ask them directly. Apparently seen as disrespectful, on March 3rd he was arrested.
Egypt’s National Election Authority (NEA) has approved dozens of NGOs to observe and monitor the upcoming presidential election due to take place in late March. Mahmoud Lasheen, NEA’s official spokesperson, told Egypt Today that 53 local civil organizations and nine international and Arab organizations have been accredited to observe and monitor the 2018 presidential election in which two presidential candidates have been officially announced for the presidential bid. “The nine international organizations approved by the NEA are as follows: Ma’ona Association for Human Rights and Immigration, Yemen, America, Arab Organization for Human Rights, Libyan Academic Organization, Sweden Center for Human Rights, Global Council for Tolerance and Peace, Volunteers Association without Borders, the Ecumenical Alliance for Human Rights and Development, Assyrian Monitor For Human Rights and the International Center for Research and Human Rights in Brussels,” Lasheen added.
Egypt’s western allies have been urged to denounce the country’s “farcical” presidential election, after authorities detained a top anti-corruption official and the former running mate of a challenger to President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi. Fourteen international and Egyptian rights groups, including Human Rights Watch and the International Commission of Jurists, condemned the forthcoming March presidential elections, accusing the Sisi government of having “trampled over even the minimum requirements for free and fair elections” in his bid for a second term.
The chairmen of seven political parties launched a campaign on Monday that seeks to mobilise the public to vote in the presidential election, scheduled for 26-28 March. In a statement issued following a meeting at the Wafd Party’s headquarters on 11 February political leaders said “a central operation room” will be formed in order to mobilise citizens in all governorates to cast their ballots. Yasser Qoura, assistant secretary-general of the Wafd Party, told Al-Ahram Weekly that the operation room will start work next week. “The campaign is a response to those who are calling for a boycott. We want as many citizens as possible to participate and vote,” he said.
Over a dozen international and regional rights groups said on Tuesday that next month’s presidential election in Egypt does not meet the “minimum requirements” for a fair and free vote and called on Cairo’s Western allies to denounce the “farcical” election. The incumbent, general-turned-president Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, is virtually certain to win the March vote, his only challenger an obscure politician and one of his most ardent supporters. Moussa Mustafa Moussa entered the race in the eleventh hour, sparing el-Sissi and his government the deeper embarrassment of a one-candidate election. Meanwhile, leaders of opposition parties who called for a boycott of the vote are being investigated on allegations they are seeking to destabilize the country.
Egypt’s prosecutor-general has ordered an official investigation into a number of opposition politicians who are boycotting next month’s presidential election, as President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi looks set to extend his term. Nabil Sadeq, Egypt’s prosecutor general, said in a statement on Monday that 13 individuals may be summoned to the Giza office for “incitement against the state” and attempting to “overthrow the regime”. This comes as opposition parties called for a boycott of the March vote last month. Among those to be investigated is Hamdeen Sabahi, Sisi’s only rival in the 2014 presidential elections.
Opposition parties and figures in Egypt called on Tuesday for a boycott of the March presidential election in which incumbent Abdel Fattah al-Sisi looks set to romp to victory. Branding the poll a “charade”, the coalition of eight parties and 150 public figures announced a campaign under the slogan “Stay at home” ahead of voting on March 26-28. “No to participation in this charade,” said Hamdeen Sabbahi, a presidential candidate in 2012 and 2014. At a news conference by the coalition, founded in December and describing itself as a democratic civic movement, Sabbahi asked: “How can we speak of an election when there is no guarantee of a free vote?”
An Egyptian politician emerged just ahead of a deadline on Monday as the sole challenger to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in a March election the incumbent appears set to win after other candidates withdrew citing repression. Mousa Mostafa Mousa leads the Ghad party, which had endorsed Sisi for a second term and even organized events to help nominate the former military commander as recently as last week. Mousa said he would mount a full challenge to Sisi, though opposition activists, journalists, and analysts took to Twitter to dismiss him as a dummy candidate, standing only to give the impression of a full democratic contest. “This is all theater,” said a shopkeeper outside the Ghad party headquarters in downtown Cairo.
Seven years after massive street protests in Cairo that toppled longtime dictator Hosni Mubarak and galvanized “Arab Spring” revolts across the region, Egypt’s field of hopefuls in its presidential election has essentially dwindled to one: President Abdel Fattah Sisi. And for supporters of the former field marshal, that’s a bit embarrassing: Even if Sisi scores a near-unanimous victory at the ballot box, as he did in a previous vote, many in his camp would like him to have at least a symbolic opponent. But critics say it is the president’s backers who have engineered a string of abrupt bowings-out by potential rivals.
If there was any doubt that Egypt’s upcoming presidential election will be neither free nor fair, the arrest of former military chief of staff Sami Anan shortly after announcing that he would run for president has made it crystal clear. The March vote will in no way confirm President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s popularity among the Egyptian people. This election campaign is merely an extension of the internal power struggle among the military and the regime’s security services, and it has nothing to do with democratic mechanisms worthy of the name. In the early hours of Saturday morning, Anan returned to the political scene. In a video announcement that was released on his Facebook page after midnight, the Hosni Mubarak-era general declared his intention to run in the upcoming presidential election.
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi finally declared his candidacy for re-election in March and pledged a “transparent” election process. The widely-anticipated announcement came at the end of a three-day conference that focused on the president’s record since he was elected in a 2014 landslide. With no formidable challenger on the horizon, and given the support he enjoys among many Egyptians as well as from the country’s security institutions, another victory for the former military chief seems all but assured. “If you think that I gave my maximum energy with you and want to return the favor to me, all I wish from you and regardless of your choice is to show the world your participation in the vote and choose whoever you want,” El-Sisi said in a speech aired live on TV.
Egypt: Elections authority sets cap of EGP 20 million for campaign financing in presidential elections | Ahram Online
Egypt’s National Elections Authority has set a cap of EGP 20 million (1.3 million) on campaign financing for each candidate running in the country’s upcoming presidential elections, which are set for 26-28 March. The ceiling for campaign financing during the run-off period – if one were to take place – is set at EGP 5 million ($282,000), the authority said on Tuesday. Candidates must mostly finance their campaigns with their own private funds, and are allowed to receive donations of no more that 2 percent of the funding limit.
Egypt: Egypt looks ahead to presidential election but little doubt about outcome | Middle East Online
Cairo- Notaries in hundreds of offices in Egypt have started registering powers of attorney filed by citizens for potential presidential candidates as Egypt prepares for the start of the 2018 presidential election campaign. The vote will be March 26-28. In the event of an election run-off, the second round of the voting would be April 24. Many analysts predict that incumbent Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who has not formally announced his re-election bid, will easily win more than 50% of the vote, particularly given a dearth of challengers. Approximately 58 million Egyptians are eligible to vote in the presidential election, the second since the downfall of the Muslim Brotherhood regime in 2013. The announcement of the election timetable was welcomed by political observers, who expressed hope that the vote would energise Egypt’s moribund political participation.
Egypt’s top election body said Monday that the next presidential election will be held in March, and gave prospective candidates about three weeks to declare. So far the race has only one potential contender: incumbent Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi. His most serious possible challenger to date, former premier and air force general Ahmed Shafiq, backed out of contention late Sunday after a mysterious string of events. That left the field wide open to El-Sisi, who hasn’t yet officially tossed his hat into the race.
An Egyptian court on Wednesday postponed its verdict in a case against rights lawyer and presidential hopeful Khaled Ali, judicial sources said, leaving uncertainty over whether he will be allowed to run in a forthcoming election. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is widely expected to seek a second term in the presidential vote early this year, but has not yet announced his candidacy. Ali said in November he intended to run against former military commander Sisi, who led the ousting of Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Mursi in 2013 before taking office a year later. But a three month prison sentence passed in September for public indecency over an alleged rude hand gesture he made outside a courthouse last year might yet disqualify Ali.