The trial of Egyptian presidential candidate and Sisi’s best-known challenger Ahmed al-Tantawi begins today.
Al-Tantawi is accused of producing unauthorized endorsement forms ahead of Egypt’s imminent elections.
Prospective candidates must secure endorsements from 20 MPs or 25,000 citizens to appear on the ballot. To prove he had support, al-Tantawi asked his followers to submit copies of the endorsement form in place of official forms provided by the authorities. He later rescinded this request after 100 members of his campaign were arrested.
Many claim notary offices have been made inaccessible for individuals seeking to endorse opposition candidates. Opposition candidates have claimed intimidation by security forces. Authorities deny this, but President Sisi’s twelve-year rule has frequently been criticized for not respecting human rights.
With al-Tantawi out of the picture and other opposition severely cowed, Sisi is almost certain to win December’s elections, despite his plummeting popularity. However, given the severe economic difficulties the country faces, his hold on power is precarious; even his supporters warn that Egypt faces dire consequences if conditions do not improve, and further economic strain is expected. Preventing Egyptians from choosing their leader safely could drive them to more aggressive tactics given the strain they are already under.
Rory is an Analyst that writes for the Daily Brief..