Friday,22 February, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1386, (22 - 28 March 2018)
Friday,22 February, 2019
Issue 1386, (22 - 28 March 2018)

Ahram Weekly

Presidential elections 2018

Next week, for a period of three days, starting Monday, 26 March, Egyptians will head to the polls to elect a president for the next four-year term, which begins in June. Predictions are that voters will favour incumbent President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi over his rival, Ghad Party Chairman Moussa Mostafa Moussa. Returns from the early polls that were held in Egyptian embassies and consulates abroad augur a large turnout at home during election week. Voter participation abroad exceeded expectations given the lack of a strong competitor to the frontrunner. One voter, speaking to the Egyptian press during the three-day balloting period abroad, held that taking part in the voting process was part of the Egyptian citizen’s dedication to the welfare and cohesion of his country. It was a way to stand with the state in the face of current challenges, foremost among which are economic development and the war against terrorism that entered a new phase five weeks ago with the launch of Comprehensive Operation Sinai 2018 (COS 2018).

Egyptians both at home and abroad also feel that moderate forces in society have a duty to stand up to the anti-Egyptian propaganda spread by the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood, which remains determined to belittle the grassroots 30 June 2013 Revolution that swept them from power and closed off all avenues to their political return after the Egyptian people had their say.

The Egyptian government has provided all possible guarantees for the integrity of the electoral process and to ensure that monitors from civil society and rights organisations have access to the polling stations. Authorities have also issued permits to hundreds of local and foreign journalists to facilitate their coverage of the elections during the balloting period and during the runoffs in mid-April, if necessary.

The awareness of the need to continue to build democracy and the simultaneous awareness of the magnitude of the current challenges have combined to fire Egyptians’ determination to vote, as they did the last time in 2014. Such are the considerations that shape the thinking of the majority of the Egyptian electorate that realises that the country is passing through a delicate phase and requires a large demonstration of grassroots solidarity with the people’s institutions of government and the institutions that serve to protect them and safeguard stability.

Egypt entered the current presidential election juncture after having passed important milestones and scoring major accomplishments. It has put into place a sweeping economic reform programme that has the backing of international financial institutions. It has made considerable progress in increasing economic growth rates, attracting foreign direct investment and developing infrastructure. It has broadened and strengthened foreign relations with numerous countries while sustaining a tough and unrelenting stance against Islamist trends. The advances on all these fronts are inspiring voters to take part in the polls in order to ground the legitimacy of government authorities as firmly as possible.

The returns from abroad indicate overwhelming support for incumbent President Al-Sisi. This signifies that the next four years will see further progress in the implementation of his ambitious economic reform programme, new measures to expand the potential of the Egyptian economy, and efforts to channel the returns from the recent oil and natural gas discoveries into the development of a new industrial base. We also anticipate that COS 2018 will bring definitive results in the fight against the forces of terrorism.

In light of the above, the most appropriate banner for the forthcoming polls is “positive participation for the sake of a better future for Egypt and its people.”

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