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Egypt: No Room for Debate as President Sisi Poised for Second Term

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Local Editor

With Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on the cusp of winning a second term in this month's election, what's left of the opposition is reduced to praying he will step aside in four years.

Abdul Fattah al-Sisi

There is little else his critics can realistically hope for after Sisi eviscerated his opposition in his first term. 

A former army chief, Sisi was first elected in 2014, a year after he ousted his predecessor Mohamed Morsi. 

Morsi was the country's first freely elected civilian president, but also a divisive figure whose policies sparked massive protests.

Since then, the country has grappled with a persistent terrorist campaign that killed hundreds, along with long-deferred economic reforms that have resulted in sky-rocketing inflation.

"The priority is to fix the situation, and not necessarily according to the traditional standards of a democracy," said Mostafa El-Feki, a prominent government supporter and head of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, a major library in Alexandria.

"This is his priority, and this is the higher interest of the Egyptian people. I and most Egyptians believe he is on that course."

But it is difficult to ascertain what most Egyptians believe, given scant independent opinion polls and a domestic media that often touts Sisi's achievements while underplaying criticism against him.

His security services tolerate little outright dissent like that which foreshadowed the 2011 uprising.

For now, the opposition -- a collection of small parties and groups that hold little sway on the street -- is merely trying to "exist," said Khaled Dawoud, a prominent dissident.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team