Egypt: New President and New Phase

Held yesterday, in Cairo, was the inauguration ceremony of Egypt’s new President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.

And present along with several other heads of states from around the world, was our leader His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.

I believe that the assembled world leaders had all witnessed yet another historic moment in Egypt’s long and checkered history.

Having won the May 2014 elections in a landslide victory, Al Sisi announced yesterday that his election was “a democratic, peaceful handover of power” and that it represented “a historic moment and turning point” for the nation.

With sterling credentials and an illustrious military career, Al Sisi, the former head of Egypt’s armed forces now takes on the mantle of governing one of world’s most troubled countries of the recent past.

The 50-year old Al Sisi was a member of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (Scaf), which governed Egypt after the fall of President Hosni Mubarak in the Egyptian revolution of 2011.

Al Sisi was also made the commander-in-chief of the armed forces by the previous president Mohammed Morsi, of Muslim Brotherhood.

But after Morsi was toppled – with the help of Al Sisi – Muslim Brotherhood Party has now been banned, and several members of that party detained.

And Al Sisi actually resigned from the military on 26 March 2014 in order to run for president, in May 2014 elections.

And as it turns out, Al Sisi secured an astounding 96.9% of the vote and his sole challenger, left-winger Hamdeen Sabahi, received only 3.1%.

It is also pertinent to note that the voter turnout was less than 50%; mostly because the Muslim Brotherhood supporters boycotted the elections.

The questions now are many and varied. Where is Egypt heading to? What will this new leader do? How will he steer the economy that seems to have lost most of its bearings?

Strangely, at a time of deep economic crisis, he must also keep his election pledge. He said he will build 26 new tourist resorts, eight new airports and 22 industrial estates.

With more than a quarter of Egypt’s population below the poverty line, the task ahead is going to be an extremely difficult one.

In response to the state’s crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood and its allies, in which more than 1,400 people have been killed and 16,000 detained, there is an increase in the militant attacks on government and civilian targets. He will need to manage that uprising on one side.

And on the other side, of course, he has to uplift the economy that stays completely shattered.

The plus point is the support which this new government has been receiving from USA, UK, and GCC countries, among others.

If he can keep political stability, with joint ventures and foreign aid, Egypt can bounce back.

But as some people have been saying, Egypt being Egypt, one should not be surprised if another revolution springs up, against him, if he does not deliver at least some of his promises in the first 100