Egyptians are going to the polls today (Monday) and tomorrow to elect a president in what many see as a foregone conclusion. But the issue is not whether former Field Marshal and Defense Minister Abdel Fattah el-Sisi will be elected president – the issue is how many of Egypt’s 80 million citizens will actually turn out to vote.
El-Sisi, whose opponent was socialist activist Hamdeen Sabahi, was responsible for the June 30, 2013 removal of Egypt’s first democratically-elected president.
Former President Mohammed Morsi was backed by the Muslim Brotherhood and elected by a popular vote that many Egyptians said was rigged. The election followed the “January 25 Revolution” that toppled the decades-old regime of former President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.
The “intervention” – as the subsequent military government called it – came in response to months of protests against the increasingly restrictive Islamist regime.
By June, millions of Egyptians had signed a petition asking the president to resign, and were flooding the streets in major cities around the country. But the streets ran with blood as the protesters clashed with their Muslim Brotherhood counterparts, who supported Morsi and claimed the entire scene was a setup by the military.
Now new elections have arrived and the question is whether the country will turn out to support el-Sisi — the military chief who seized the initiative to remove Morsi from office, attempted to restore order to Egypt and has since cooperated with Israel in trying to eliminate terrorist camps in Sinai.