A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Monday, January 27, 2014

Is the Sisi Bandwagon Starting to Roll?

Adly Mansour (Ahram)
Now that the Egyptian Constitution has passed, giving the Interim President (Adly Mansour, if you've forgotten, as I frequently do) the power to decide when to schedule the first Parliamentary and Presidential elections, Mansour has announced that he has been told decided to move Presidential elections ahead of Parliamentary elections, after "several dialogues with political groups, which saw a majority in favour of holding presidential elections first." This departs from the "roadmap" announced last July, and most observers think it would lead to an opportunity for the new President to entrench himself in power before having an elected Parliament to deal with.

The decree said that "procedures" for the polls must begin within a minimum of 30 to a maximum of 90 days of the adoption of the Constitution, which means February 17-April 18; an Ahram Online report assumes the vote itself will take place within that window.

Assuming General Sisi plans to run for President himself, which isn't exactly a daring assumption, all this guarantees an election while he is still enormously popular and before the growing violence can get out of control.

Meanwhile General Sisi, whose only job at the moment is Defense Minister and head of the Armed Forces, is performing such normal command functions as meeting with Coptic Pope Tawadros II and a senior delegation of Coptic bishops on the occasion of the third anniversary of the January 25 revolution.
At least he took off his sunglasses. Looking for the Coptic vote? Or asking the Pope for military advice? You decide.

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