By Afro-Middle East Centre
After months of waiting, Egypt’s Presidential Election Committee has finally declared the dates for the country’s first post-Morsi presidential election: 26 and 27 May. The election forms part of the military’s ‘roadmap’, which will supposedly return Egypt to democracy following Morsi’s ouster on 3 July 2013. However, the long-awaited announcement that Field Marshall Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the defence minister who overthrew Morsi, was to be a candidate in the election has raised questions about the military’s motives, and confirmed that a full-scale counter-revolution is under way. This article assesses the possibility of a free and fair election, considering the atmosphere surrounding the recent constitutional referendum on 14 and 15 January, and the cult-like status Sisi has gained. It also elaborates on the role and motives of state institutions and the role of the ‘deep state’, and how these impact on the electoral process. It argues that the current atmosphere in the country – which has witnessed extreme suppression of dissent – suggests that the election result is a foregone conclusion. However, in the event that Sisi wins, his rein will be fraught with a myriad challenges, many of which are intractable and are similar to challenges Morsi had faced. Key amongst these are the state of the country’s economy and Sisi’s inability to fully suppress dissent.