In 2014, Egyptians may vote for the very thing they fought so bravely to overthrow: authoritarian military rule. Several nationwide campaigns have come together to urge Abdel Fatah El Sisi – the head of the army, as well as the country’s defence minister and deputy prime minister – to run for president. They are being backed by print, broadcast and social media, amid a public state of near worship of the man who announced the overthrow in July of Mohammed Morsi, the country’s only democratically elected, civilian leader. This would have been unthinkable before then – only last year, Egyptians were united in protesting against the continuation of decades of military rule after they toppled dictator Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
Their flirtation with civilian government was as brief as it was disastrous, such that many of those who had taken to the streets are now yearning for a strongman to lead them once again – the result of a combination of convenient amnesia, unbridled nationalism, sheer desperation, pent-up frustration and paranoia.
Will Sisi run? That is the question on everyone’s lips, and in this month’s edition of the magazine Sharif Nashishibi reports on what this means to Egyptians.
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