Caught between a growing economic crisis and the Israel-Hamas war that is now knocking on the border, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's Egypt, which has been in power for 9 years, goes to the polls for three days today to elect its sixth president.
Challenging Al Sisi will be three candidates: Hazed Omar, of the Republican People's Party, who has assured that his first move if elected would be to "control inflation by abolishing VAT on basic food products". He spoke at the only televised debate between candidates, during which Sisi was represented by a member of his campaign. Another candidate, Farid Zahran, head of Egypt's left-wing Social Democratic Party, promised the "release of all prisoners of conscience" and the "abolition of repressive laws." The third is one of the prominent founders of the Civil Democratic Movement, considered the largest bloc of opposition parties in Egypt, Abdel-Sanad Yamama, head of the Wafd party, the most historic of Egypt's liberal parties and Egypt's oldest party.
There are many who believe in a third term for al-Sisi, partly because of the crucial role played by Egypt as mediator for the truce in Gaza, the collaboration in the release of Hamas hostages and aid for the Strip, and partly because of a very silent election campaign, which saw the other three candidates almost absent.
In Cairo, it's easier to see queues at shops to buy sugar than rallies of aspiring presidents. On the walls of the city, portraits of the incumbent president are practically the only ones to appear.
There is concern among the population about the prices that are rising every day with inflation at its highest and the devaluation of the currency, at an absolute low, while the International Monetary Fund is called upon to decide shortly whether to grant the country some loans already agreed, fearing that Egypt will not be able to repay them and also because reforms had been requested that have not yet been carried out. according to World Bank data: in 2022 it increased by 6.6 percent, the year before by 3.3 percent and the year before that by 3.6 percent, fueled and distorted, however, according to experts, by the enormous public spending of the state, which has inflated the public debt to maintain consensus among the population with huge and partly unsustainable programs.
Today, Egypt, according to Bloomberg, is the second largest debtor of the Fund, after Ukraine.
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