Egypt: Another free and fair election to keep Al Sisi in power. By Dr. Ashraf Ramelah

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On October 2, President Al Sisi announced his intention to run for his third term. When he first came into office in 2014, he faced one four-year term with a two-term limit. According to the Egyptian constitution, he could hold office for a total of eight years. After Egypt’s nearly sixty-year history with just three Egyptian presidents and only one election (referendum), the 2014 term limits were hopeful in reducing longevity for any president holding office.

 However, Al Sisi altered the length of the presidential term as well as term limits. Soon into his second term in April of 2019, Al Sisi’s parliament modified the constitution and lengthened the presidential term to six years with a maximum of three terms totaling eighteen years.

 The December 2023 election

 Al Sisi will have one contender this month whose name and electoral symbol were announced on November 9. This candidate is incidental. The polls will open on December 10 for three days of voting. If Al Sisi wins a third term, of which there is little doubt, his total years in office will span 16 years, which is identical to Nasser, the first “military” president. But some suspect that Al Sisi has more in mind, more likely a presidential dynasty to include his military sons much like the goal of Mubarak who chose his civilian son to succeed him after 30 years. Officially, this caused the Egyptian uprising and his removal in 2011.

 Mubarak was subject to constitutional term limits like those before him. Likewise, his power was unrestrained by these limits, and his parliament continued to renew his terms. He merely raised his voice and spoke his truth, “The people want me,” and the seas parted for him. Except for Sadat who was assassinated while in office, all Egyptian presidents abusively outlasted their legal term limits of office.

 Despite these illegal power grabs and Egypt’s dictatorial bent, the Egyptian National Elections Authority persists in its quest to find qualified candidates through a lengthy process every election season and to officiate transparency and opportunity for a viable presidential election. However, without at least a petition process by candidates appealing to the populace in a process to get on the ballot, the Elections Authority’s nomination committee has the sole power to reject any potential candidate for any reason or no reason. Despite the appeal process for rejected candidates, this is how Al Sisi ends up once again with weak and unknown opposition.  

 Egyptians abroad have voted during the first three days of December going to their polls inside Egyptian embassies. In Egypt, political campaigning stops on December 8, two days prior to polls opening for three days of voting on December 10,11 and 12. 

 Al Sisi announces his re-election.

This October, at the end of a conference entitled, The Story of a Homeland Between Vision and Achievement, Al Sisi announced his intention to run for a third term – now perfectly legal since the law was changed. However, Al Sisi’s decision follows the military method of deception where power is first possessed through tanks. Then personal interests take over, leading to changes in the constitution. With this comes declaring democracy that does not allow for real, authentic opposition and representation and so it goes.

 Reminiscent of Mubarak, Al Sisi responded to the imaginary voice inside his head, which he called the people’s outcry for him to remain in office and made this announcement, “I responded before, and today I respond once again, I am determined to nominate myself for you, to complete my dream of a new presidential term.” His dream includes an invitation to the people for a “real beginning” as noted in his further statement, “With a sincere invitation to make these elections a real beginning for a lively political life that witnesses pluralism, diversity, and difference.” This appears to be an admission of his administration’s lack of success in achieving “a real beginning” to this point.

 His Leftist rhetoric demonstrates that he knows how to impress Egyptians with globalist talking points. He boasts of many “achievements” that have nothing to do with alleviating suffering and bringing real prosperity. For example, the updated and expanded Suez Canal is a gold mine for a few but conspicuously lacks any serious contribution to the betterment of the country.

 For instance, the canal proceeds should go into building desalinization plants to alleviate water shortages in Egypt to avoid the current water rationing in poor communities. Another option would be to research and explore the possibility of underground sources of water. This situation is unfortunately made necessary by the fact that Al Sisi has been silent regarding the Al Nahada Dam in Ethiopia, which maintains Egypt’s water flow at its historical share instead of higher rates to fulfill the needs of Egypt’s increased population.

 As Al Sisi neglects and destroys the country, he is removing himself behind fortress walls and high security surveillance inside his New Administration City where he will be deeply insulated from the real outcries of the population. Is he preparing for his endless years in office by creating a distance from the same voices that Mubarak was able to hear from the streets below his window leading to his takedown?

 Recall that Al Sisi’s first promise to the Egyptian people was his declaration to remain in military uniform and never run for president. He broke his promise then to only become what former President Trump affectionately called, “my favorite dictator.”

Dr. Ashraf Ramelah is the founder and president of Voice of the Copts, a human rights nonprofit organization 501 (c) (3). The organization has offices in Italy and the United States.

Dr. Ramelah is dedicated to the Coptic cause and believes that his life’s mission is to speak up for the oppressed Copts who cannot speak up for themselves.

Dr. Ramelah is well known to the Egyptian government due to his advocacy for the Egyptian Copts as well as for Voice of the Copts’ lawsuit against them on behalf of Muslim convert to Christianity Mr. Hegazy and his family in 2009-2010. Ashraf Ramelah also appears as an entry in the Coptic History Encyclopedia (http://www.coptichistory.org/new_page_5260.htm).

Dr. Ramelah, himself a Copt, was born in Cairo, Egypt. At the age of 17, he travelled to Italy to study architecture. He graduated with a doctorate in architecture from La Sapienza – Universita’ Degli Studi di Roma,Italy. His special study is restoration of old monuments and history of architecture.

His career as an architect took him to work and live in Italy, Saudi Arabia, Gabon and the USA. His personal interests are Egyptology and Coptic history in the period after the Arab invasion of Egypt in 651 AD.

Voice of the Copts is dedicated to bringing fair, correct and balanced information to the entire world regarding Copts and Christians in countries with an Arab-Muslim majority.

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