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Dhaka Tribune

Egypt presidential election

El-Sisi vies for third term

  • Despite concerns over the war in Gaza and an economic crisis which has seen almost a third of the country living in poverty
  • President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is likely to remain president in the face of little opposition
Update : 10 Dec 2023, 10:45 PM

Egyptians headed to the polls on Sunday as voting began in a presidential election in which President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi faces no serious challenger.

Initially coming to power in the wake of a coup d'etat in 2013, El-Sisi is likely to end up ruling the northeast African country until 2030, after term limits were adjusted from four to six years by a constitutional amendment in 2019.

In a country that links northeast Africa with the Middle East, many Egyptians have concerns extending beyond their nation's borders.

The three-day vote is being overshadowed by the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, with a large focus on the conflict and Egypt's northeastern borders, as well as the suffering of Palestinians.

People watched El-Sisi's news conferences alongside foreign dignitaries as the war on Gaza took the spotlight away from domestic problems, including a lack of freedom of expression.

The vote comes as Israeli ground forces expand their operation in southern Gaza, ordering Palestinians to evacuate and head to the Mediterranean Coast or closer to the Egyptian border.

El-Sisi is up against three other candidates: Farid Zahran, head of the opposition Social Democratic Party; Abdel-Sanad Yamama, chairman of the liberal Wafd Party; and Hazem Omar, head of the Republican People's Party.

An ambitious young presidential hopeful, Ahmed Altantawy, dropped out of the race after he failed to secure the required signatures from residents in order to run. He blamed his failure on harassment by security agencies of his campaign staff and supporters.

In the leadup to Sunday's poll, giant billboards with El-Sisi's pictures could be seen across the capital, Cairo, dwarfing those of the three other contenders.

Loyalists view him as a guarantee of stability amid regional turmoil. Egypt is in the midst of an economic crisis, with around 30% of its 105 million population living in poverty, according to official figures.

Ex-army chief El-Sisi voted at a polling center in the Cairo suburb of Heliopolis as soon as the polls opened at 0700 GMT.

The incumbent did not give any interviews during his campaign. Some 67 million Egyptians are eligible to vote, according to Egyptian media. Final official results are expected to be announced on December 18.

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