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Saturday, May 31, 2014

Egypt's Sisi wins election, faces economic challenges | Reuters

Egypt's Sisi wins election, faces economic challenges | Reuters


Egypt's Sisi wins election, faces economic challenges

By Stephen Kalin and Maggie Fick

CAIRO Thu May 29, 2014 4:30pm EDT


 (Reuters)
- Former Egyptian army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi won a landslide victory in a
presidential election on Thursday but a low turnout threatened to deprive him
of the strong mandate he needs to fix the economy
and face down an Islamist insurgency.


Sisi won 93.3
percent of votes cast, judicial sources said, with most ballots counted after
three days of voting. His only rival, leftist politician Hamdeen Sabahi, gained
3 percent while 3.7 percent of votes were declared void.


But a
lower-than-expected turnout figure raised questions about the credibility of a
man idolized by his supporters as a hero who can deliver stability.


The stakes are
high for Sisi in a country where street protests have helped topple two
presidents in three years.


Since a series
of television interviews he gave ahead of the vote, many Egyptians feel Sisi
has not spelled out a clear vision of how he would tackle Egypt's problems,
instead making a general call for people to work hard and be patient.


He has
presented vague plans to remedy the economy,
suffering from corruption, high unemployment, and a widening budget deficit
aggravated by fuel subsidies that could cost nearly $19 billion in the next
fiscal year.



"All in
all the weak turnout will make it harder for Sisi to impose painful economic
reforms that international institutions and investors are demanding," said
Anna Boyd, an analyst at London-based IHS Jane's.


Investors want
Sisi to end energy subsidies, impose a clear tax regime and give guidance on
the direction of the exchange rate.



Turnout was
about 46 percent of Egypt's 54 million voters, the government said, less than
the 40 million votes, or 80 percent of the electorate, that Sisi had called for
last week.


It was also
less than the 52 percent turnout secured in the 2012 presidential election by
Mohamed Mursi, the Islamist leader Sisi ousted last year after mass protests
against his rule.


A Reuters
tour of polling stations suggested turnout was low. Many Egyptians said voters
had stayed at home due to political apathy, opposition to another military man
becoming president, discontent at suppression of freedoms among liberal youth,
and calls for a boycott by Islamists.


"These
elections were just an act, a farce," said Mahmoud Ibrahim, 25, a resident
of the sprawling Imbaba district who did not vote. "Turnout was low, but
the media will lie to the people, all for the sake of the one man."


Sabahi
conceded defeat but rejected the official turnout figures as too high, calling
them "an insult to the intelligence of Egyptians."


The stock
market .EGX30, which fell 2.3 percent on Wednesday as some players said the
turnout was a disappointment, closed down 3.45 percent on Thursday, after the

 finance minister approved a ten percent tax on stock
market profits. On the black market, the Egyptian pound weakened slightly.
(Full Story)


BUSINESS COMMUNITY

Mohamed El
Sewedy, chairman of the Federation of Egyptian Industries, said, however:
"The business
community is very happy about the results. We need real reform and
opportunities ... a guy with courage to take decisions.”


Sisi is seen
by supporters as a strong figure who can end the turmoil that has convulsed Egypt
for three years since the revolution that ousted Hosni Mubarak after 30 years
in power.


Critics fear
Sisi will be another autocrat who will preserve the army's interests, quash
hopes of democracy and mismanage the economy.


Sisi enjoys
the backing of the armed forces and the Interior Ministry, as well as
businessmen who thrived under Mubarak and are still highly influential.


Sisi also has
the support of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait,
which see Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood as an existential threat. Gulf Arab states
pumped billions of dollars into Egypt
to keep the economy afloat.


"Egypt
and Saudi Arabia can work together to face threats,
either internally like the Muslim Brotherhood, or externally like Iran
and its supporters in the area," said Mohammed Zulfa, a member of Saudi
Arabia's Shura Council, an appointed body that advises the government.


"I think
the Saudis will do all they can to support Sisi now he has been elected as he
was supported by the Egyptian people," he added.


Diplomats said
Saudi Arabia was committed to help Sisi overcome Egypt's crisis by maintaining
financial aid to help him shore up an economy shunned by tourists and
investors.


Saudi Arabia
has also formally designated the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist
organization, in a move that increased pressure on Qatar, whose backing for the
group has sparked a row with Gulf monarchies.


Riyadh fears
the Brotherhood, whose Sunni Islamist doctrines challenge the Saudi principle
of dynastic rule, has tried to build support inside the kingdom since the Arab
revolutions.


TOUGH MEASURES

Sisi gained
adulation from many Egyptians after deposing Mursi, whose one year in office
was marred by allegations that he usurped power and mismanaged the economy.


But the
lower-than-expected turnout suggest Sisi may not have the popular mandate to take
the tough measures needed to restore healthy economic growth, ease poverty and
unemployment, and end costly energy subsidies.


"The
hard work starts here. The last 12 months have been about not being Mursi. Now
the new regime has to deliver," said Simon Williams, chief economist at
HSBC Middle East.


One of Sisi's
biggest tests will be the politically-sensitive issue of energy subsidies which
drain billions of dollars from the state budget every year. Businessmen have
urged Sisi to raise energy prices even though that may trigger protests, or
risk sinking the economy.


Tamer Abu
Bakr, chairman of Mashreq Petroleum, predicted Sisi would put off any bold
decisions in the first few months of his presidency, but a move was inevitable.


ARMY INTERESTS

Sisi also
faces the formidable task of crushing an Islamist armed insurgency and
eliminating any threat from the Brotherhood, which, as the country's
best-organized political force, had won every national vote held after
Mubarak's fall.


Islamist
militants in the Sinai have stepped up attacks since Mursi's ouster, killing
hundreds of police and soldiers in violence that has hammered the vital tourism
industry.



The
Brotherhood, a movement loyal to Mursi and outlawed as a terrorist group, has
rejected the election, describing it as an extension of the army takeover.


The
Brotherhood, believed to have about one million members, has been devastated by
one of the toughest crackdowns in its history. Its top leaders, including
Mursi, are on trial and could face the death penalty. The movement seemed
inspired by the low turnout in this week's poll.


"Sisi and
those with him have to admit that Egypt is against them and the Dr. Mohamed
Mursi is their president and the president of all Egyptians,” an Islamist
alliance that includes the Brotherhood said in a statement.


The United
States, Egypt's ally in the West, has yet to comment on Sisi's victory


Comment: 
 If the General thinks he would leak the boots of USA and US 
would pay off the amount of Egypt’s burden of 19 billion finance 
required to run the country would be wrong to think.  It is only
possible for Russia the bloody Muslim Blood thirst devil .

The General went threatening US. Now is the time to ask RUSSIA
to give him that amount US must not become gracious and show its Magnanimity to
an idiot, who picked up the guts to misbehave the way he did and went to Russia
leaving  the friendly country that always
stood with Egypt in all time till recently.  

The  overconfident idiot
General has to bow down to the majority public demand and go on permanent
retirement or face the future days as “Feraoon” in this very land faced The GOD’S
wreath. Non, West and EU should not help until a fresh fair election is held because
helping him would carry a wrong message to 

Egypt’s general public which would
be very detrimental for any country helping this idiot..

Any country trying to help this genocide committal General
would be rejected as a friendly country forever  by the people

of Egypt. This General is a cold-blooded murderer who
kept detained innocent Journalists without any charge of having
committed any offense, which is  torturing tantamount to 

committal of crime against humanity. 

The General cannot be exonerated from being a genocide
committal criminal and has to face ICC trail without any question and delay he
should be immediately arrested and detained at Hague so that proper impartial
investigation can be carried without any interference.      



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