Egypt votes again
“They say he will return to his farm,” responded American painter Benjamin West when King George III asked what he thought George Washington would do after the American Revolution ended.
“If he does that, he will be the greatest man in the world,” King George retorted.
Where George Washington’s willingness to give up power as America’s most powerful General and greatest President ensured the United States of America could become the world’s first and most powerful modern democracy. Having virtually secured his anticipated victory with weak voter turnout, former Army Chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will soon be Egypt’s second President since its Arab Spring revolution. Given that Egypt’s military removed President Morsi from office due to his Muslim Brotherhood agenda, voter turnout was so low that officials decided to extend the voting in order to legitimize the results, and few candidates participated in the election due to the clear slant that favored Sisi, this vote was far from purely democratic.
That said, what will determine if Egypt can become a democracy under President Sisi will not be his ability to stabilize Egypt in terms of economics and national security. Democracy will not even be dependent upon when, or if, Sisi decides to give up his position of power. It will depend on Sisi starting to build the democratic institutions needed for Egypt to hold truly fair and free elections, long before he leaves office. Where the Muslim Brotherhood gained power due to a lack of organization on behalf of alternative parties and an election that was held before the democratic process could produce more representative results, Sis was made the “democratic choice.” If Egypt is to become a true democracy, Sisi must allow opposition parties to freely form and function within Egypt’s political system, without interference from the military.
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