Al-Sisi Formally Enters Race for Re-election After Last Opponent Drops Out
Last week’s visit to Egypt by US Vice President Mike Pence underscored the degree to which the US and Western nations are giving President Al-Sisi a pass on human rights issues. It appears that efforts to demand that Egypt show some commitment to democratization be tied to aid funding are non-existent as envoys from the Trump administration – the latest being the Veep – show up with carrot and no stick. On Wednesday, immediately after Al-Sisi submitted his filings for re-election, Khaled Ali ended his run. Notably, Ali was the last of those who had previously filed as candidates, leaving Al-Sisi with no opponent in the race. Significantly, more than one former candidate openly expressed fear as the primary reason for abandoning their election campaign. The challenger considered to be the most serious candidate beside the president was arrested by the military a day before Al-Sisi submitted his candidacy, and in the leadup to the election, opponents’ campaign workers have been detained. Although Al-Sisi’s reign has been a difficult time for journalists and media as targets of the incumbent, his anti-democratic behavior has not earned even a mild rebuke from Washington, London or Paris. Former president Mubarak, his successor Mohamed Morsi were both threatened with a loss of American aid if Egypt’s human rights record did not improve.