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19 Dec, 2023 09:27

Egyptian president wins third term

Abdel Fatah el-Sisi says the elections’ outcome indicates the citizens of the African nation have rejected the "inhumane" Israel-Hamas war
Egyptian president wins third term

Egyptian President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi has won a third term after defeating his three opponents in an election held last week. A total of 39.7 million people, representing 89.6% of those who cast their ballots, voted for him, the North African Nation’s Elections Authority (NEA) announced on Monday.

Sisi, who has been president for nearly a decade, will now serve a six-year term that will end in 2030.

The December 10–12 election took place at over 11,000 polling stations under the supervision of 15,000 judges, according to local media.

Hazem Badawy, head of the NEA, said 44.7 million citizens (66.8%) out of the 67.3 million eligible voters had cast their ballots, lauding the "unprecedented" turnout; it was considerably higher than the 41% recorded in the previous presidential election in 2018.

President Sisi's victory comes despite the Arab nation facing a severe economic crisis with a devalued currency and soaring prices, as well as increased regional tensions caused by the raging war between Israel and Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas in neighboring Gaza.

Some voters cited by Reuters claimed that the conflict in Gaza influenced their decision to back President Sisi, who has long portrayed himself as a stabilizing force in the troubled region.

Israel’s armed campaign in Gaza, which was launched in revenge for the October 7 Hamas attack that killed 1,200 of its citizens, has left at least 19,453 people dead so far, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. Israel's bombardment of the Palestinian enclave has enraged many in neighboring Egypt despite the country’s refusal to accept refugees.

Last week, a UN official claimed that Israel was planning to force Palestinians into Egypt and make it impossible for them to return to Gaza. Cairo has stated that it will not permit any cross-border exodus of Gazans. The population of the enclave vastly outnumbers that of the neighboring Sinai Peninsula, which was occupied by Israel between 1967 and 1982 and seen anti-government terrorist activity allegedly perpetrated by Islamic fundamentalists in the last decade.

Sisi described the Israel-Hamas conflict as Egypt's main challenge in a speech following his victory announcement on Monday.

"Egyptians lined up to vote not just to choose their president for the next term, but to express their rejection of this inhumane war to the entire world," he said.

The former general, won the Egyptian presidency in 2014 and was re-elected for a second term in 2018, securing an overwhelming 97% of the votes on both occasions.

Cairo has sought increased investment from Moscow in order to address the economic challenges that its estimated 113 million people face. Egypt, which is already a shareholder in the BRICS New Development Bank, will join the five founding member states of the BRICS in January, alongside the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, Argentina, and Iran.

Figures provided by Russia’s Federal Customs Service show that Egypt is currently Moscow’s main trade partner in Africa in terms of trade turnover, accounting for 26.9% ($4.8 billion) of total trade between Moscow and the continent in 2021.

On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Sisi on his election victory, describing it as evidence of "popular appreciation" for his contribution to resolving "major social, economic, and foreign policy issues facing Egypt."

"I would like to reaffirm my readiness to continue constructive joint work aimed at further boosting the entire range of bilateral ties, as well as cooperation in international affairs, particularly within the BRICS group," Putin said in a statement.

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