The first round of Egypt’s presidential elections is scheduled for May 26 and 27 and only two candidates are running for the office—leftist politician Hamdeen Sabahi and former General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the man widely expected to win in a landslide. Since engineering the coup in July 2013 that overthrew Egypt’s first freely elected president, Muslim Brotherhood member Mohamed Morsi, Sisi has been the de facto head of the Egyptian government. It was hardly suprising when he resigned his commission in order to make an official run for the top spot. Given that it’s a foregone conclusion that Sisi will be the country’s next president, what will Egypt look like under his rule?
The serial failures of post-Mubarak regimes—from the interim military government immediately following Mubarak’s fall to Morsi and then Sisi’s coup government—suggest that Egypt’s fundamental problems may be insoluble. Donors from the oil-rich Gulf states like Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates can delay the inevitable, but unless the country can address basic issues like slashing subsidies, encouraging investment, and privatizing industry, the Egyptian economy is headed for trouble. Further, with Sisi prosecuting wars against the Muslim Brotherhood and assorted Islamist groups in the Sinai, Egypt’s social situation is also precarious. Will Sisi’s Egypt spin out of control, or can he master the feat of governing the most populous and in many ways still most influential Arab state?
On May 16th, Hudson Institute Senior Fellow Lee Smith moderated a panel with Hudson Institute colleague Samuel Tadros and Mokhtar Awad on the the future of Sisi’s Egypt.