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Egyptian election foregone conclusion as economy and security set to be main focus

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Egyptian election foregone conclusion as economy and security set to be main focus

Al-Sisi AFP
Al-Sisi AFP
Photo: AFP

Egyptians will begin three days of voting today in an election where all real opposition has been suppressed, ensuring incumbent President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi another term.

The arrest of one candidate, former Army Chief of Staff Sami Anan, has fuelled speculation of a power struggle within the military, the bedrock of Al-Sisi’s power. However, the most pressing issues for Al-Sisi are likely to be the economy and security.

Al-Sisi’s 2016 IMF-imposed economic reforms for a $12 billion loan will continue. However, the program is likely to wrestle with inflation running at 20%, caused by a weakened Egyptian currency which has lost half its value since it was floated in 2016 under the IMF deal. Al-Sisi will likely go slow on any further subsidy cuts, wary of prices-hikes as a risk to domestic stability in a country used to nearly a century of deep government subsidies on water, fuel and bread.

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To protect his economic plans, Al-Sisi is likely to clamp down further on jihadist groups based in the Sinai who pose a threat to major oil and gas projects in the Suez worth $10 billion in 2017 alone. Military operations were launched in February targeting these groups: expect these to ramp up post-election.

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