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Egypt’s Military Leader To Run For President

Mideast Egypt

The man who led the coup that deposed Mohammed Morsi last July will be running for President in the upcoming elections:

CAIRO — The senior leaders of the Egyptian military have authorized General Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi to run for president, state television reported Monday afternoon, making it nearly certain that he would seek the post.

General Sisi, the military officer who ousted Egypt’s first elected president last summer and who has been serving as defense minister, was also promoted on Monday to field marshal.

He is seen as all but certain to win the presidency. Nearly every other potential candidate has said that he would not run for the office if General Sisi sought it. The government that he installed last summer has suppressed the largest opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, and cracked down on other dissenters. A revised constitution that was presented as a referendum on General Sisi’s leadership was approved by more than 98 percent of the votes cast this month.

The general has ridden a wave of popularity that has given him the status of a national icon since he led the removal of President Mohamed Morsi, a Brotherhood leader who won election but failed to revive Egypt’s moribund economy, restore stability, or fully control the often freewheeling and self-interested institutions of the country’s bureaucracy, especially the military and the police.

Sisi’s candidacy, and likely victory, seem to confirm that the post-Morsi world in Egypt will essentially be a return to the authoritarian military rule that marked the county from the time of Gamal Nasser and continuing through the Presidencies of Anwar Sadat and Hosni Mubarak, all three of whom were high-ranking members of the Egyptian military prior to becoming President. Quite obviously, that does not bode will for either civil liberties or the ability of the Egyptian people to control their fate. More importantly, though, it seems likely that a move like this is only likely to increase the civil strife that Egypt has seen since the coup, especially when the people realize that el-Sisi is simply going to lead them right back to the military-led rule that they took to the streets against two years ago.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Pinky says:

    The Economist had an article about Sisi a few months ago. It didn’t have much of a read on him, though. I think he’s been more behind-the-scenes through most of his career.

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  2. michael reynolds says:

    Now the suspense builds. Will he win by 98% Or will it be more of a 96% squeaker?

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  3. Barfour says:

    This is a complete reversal of the revolution that removed Mubarak 3 years ago.

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  4. Dave Schuler says:

    Blow me down! Whoever heard of a general running for president of Egypt?

    I mean other than Muhammad Naguib (first president of Egypt), Nasser, Sadat, and Mubarak.

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  5. DC Loser says:

    Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

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  6. rudderpedals says:

    This is looking like a slow-motion recapitulation of the Algerian Civil War. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algerian_Civil_War

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  7. DC Loser says:

    Not surprising at all. This is Al Qaeda and Al Zawahiri’s wet dream scenario.

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  8. Lounsbury says:

    To understand this, you need to also understand that Egypt’s tradition of rulership for the last couple centuries has been appointed military authoritarians – the Mamlouks which the Ottomans merely continued and from which spun the brief pseudo-royal dynasty.

    Unfortunately Egypt never managed to develop any other real political culture since its modern history has continued this in merely a repackaged form.

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