Middle East, News

One year on, Egyptians evaluate Sisi's presidency

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One year has passed since Abdel Fattah el-Sisi became Egypt’s president on June 8 following a controversial election held almost one year after the ouster of Mohamed Morsi, the country’s first freely elected leader, in 2013.

In the almost two years since Morsi’s ouster – and in the one year since Sisi’s assumption of the presidency – Egypt has witnessed deepening political polarization, especially on social media.

Egyptian social media activists – including both the president’s critics and his supporters – marked the passage of one year of Sisi’s rule by launching two hashtags: “Your year is black” and “A year of ruling”.

Meanwhile, Sisi himself, speaking to reporters, described his first year in office as “a hard mission,” urging Egyptians “not to pay attention to those calling for demolition and frustration”.

Anadolu Agency gaged the reactions of the Egyptian president’s supporters and critics.

Protests, civil disobedience

A number of political movements opposed to Sisi have called for demonstrations demanding his ouster. Such calls, however, have largely failed to draw a significant popular response.

Egypt’s left-leaning April 6 youth movement, for one, has called for a countrywide campaign of civil disobedience on Thursday.

Egypt’s pro-Morsi Anti-Coup Alliance, meanwhile, had called for a week of protest starting last Friday. The alliance, however, has not clarified its stance regarding calls for civil disobedience by other movements, such as April 6.

Egypt’s Revolutionary Socialists movement, for its part, released a report on its website – entitled “Rights and freedoms in the first year of al-Sisi” – in which it criticized Egypt’s economic situation, which remains dogged by inflation.

The report described the Sisi regime as a continuation of the earlier regime of Hosni Mubarak, citing ongoing repression by Egypt’s security forces.

“The economy did not advance even one step; we only saw a number of chimerical projects and promises… such as a project to build one million housing units – that was later canceled – and a March economic conference after which the government failed to inform us of the deals that were concluded so that we might evaluate and monitor the government’s steps and the executive companies,” the report said.

Egypt’s Freedom for the Brave movement, meanwhile, says it has documented 163 cases of enforced disappearance or detention by the security services – including two deaths – during the period from April 1 to June 7.

Sisi’s supporters

Not all reactions, however, have been negative.

Egypt’s Free Social Constitutional Party, for one, released a statement on Sunday in which it said that Sisi’s rule had “registered achievements since its first day”.

These achievements, the party said, had included “reactivating Egypt’s role in Africa; concluding economic and military deals with a number of countries [including France, China, Russia, Greece, Cyprus, Germany and Hungary]; restoring security; pursuing housing and urban development projects; developing agriculture; and launching the New Suez Canal project and the national roads network project”.

The Egyptian Front, meanwhile, a group of various pro-Sisi parties, declared in a statement: “Nobody can deny the successes that Egypt witnessed on all levels during the first year of President al-Sisi’s tenure.” It went on to praise the role of Egypt’s army and police “in combating terrorism”.

The National Progressive Unionist Party, for its part, announced plans to hold seminars at which it would evaluate the first year of Sisi’s presidency, while the Democratic Generation Party said it would hold a celebratory conference in eastern Cairo.

A survey conducted by the Cairo-based Baseera Center for Public Opinion Research found that 85 percent of Egyptians were satisfied with the president’s performance after one year.

Sisi, 61, served as chief of the Egyptian army from August 12, 2012 until he resigned on March 26, 2014 in order to run for president.

On July 3, 2013, he officially announced Morsi’s ouster and unveiled a “roadmap” for Egypt’s political future. This included the appointment of Adly Mansour, head of Egypt’s Supreme Court, as acting president until parliamentary and presidential elections could be held.

Since then, however, only presidential polls have been conducted, leaving both executive and legislative powers in the hands of the president.

Resources: Anadolu Agency, June 09, 2015

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