In what is predicted to be a notable chapter in Egypt's political history, the nation is set to hold its presidential elections over three days, from December 10 to 12. The outcome is likely to grant a third term to the incumbent President and former military commander, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
A Decade of Democratic Transition
Over the past decade, Egypt underwent multiple presidential and parliamentary elections, along with referendums on constitutional amendments, marking significant progress towards democratic civilian rule. This journey began with mass protests that led to the ousting of President Hosni Mubarak on February 11. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which took control of the country, suspended the constitution and tasked a committee of experts to propose amendments for fair elections.
Constitutional amendments approved in a referendum on March 19 reduced the presidential term to four years, set a two-term limit, and established judicial oversight of elections. This period saw Egypt's first free parliamentary elections, where the Freedom and Justice Party, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, secured a majority of seats. The newly formed parliament's primary task was selecting the 100-member Constituent Assembly to draft a new constitution.
From Military to Civilian Rule
The 2012 presidential elections, considered Egypt's first democratic elections, saw Mohamed Morsi of the Freedom and Justice Party securing victory against former military leader Ahmed Shafiq. However, Morsi's reign was short-lived as he was removed by the military following massive protests. Subsequently, the 2012 constitution was suspended, committees were formed to amend it, and the final draft was presented to interim President Adly Mansour. It was approved by 98.1% of voters in a subsequent referendum.
Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, after resigning from his military post, announced his candidacy for the presidency and won with a sweeping majority of 96.91% votes. His presidency saw the implementation of economic reforms, some of which were praised by investors, while others drew criticism for limiting political freedoms.
Ahead of the Elections
With the upcoming presidential elections in December, President Sisi is anticipated to secure another term. However, the nation faces major economic challenges, and his third term is unlikely to be easier than the first two. The upcoming elections are not just about choosing a leader; they represent the culmination of a turbulent decade of Egypt's transition to democratic rule.