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