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A stroll for Sisi

The president looks set for a smooth path to victory after suppressing any meaningful opposition – a course he is expected to maintain in a third term

A decade-long crackdown on political dissent has eliminated any serious opposition to President Abdel Fattah el Sisi, who is almost certain to secure a third six-year term in power following three days of voting between 10-12 December.

The main question is how low voter turnout will fall in polls that are overshadowed by a crippling economic crisis – which has caused extreme hardship and provoked widespread, if discreet, criticism – and the war in Gaza.

Inflation has hovered near 40% after the currency lost half its value and drove up the cost of imports, meaning the economy is the crux of Egyptians' concerns (AC Vol 64 No 7, El Sisi's grip weakens as economic pressures mount).

The three candidates allowed to share the ballot paper with Sisi are all relative unknowns: Farid Zahran, leader of the left-leaning Egyptian Social Democratic Party; Abdel-Sanad Yamama, from the Wafd, a century-old but relatively marginal party; and Hazem Omar, from the Republican People's Party.

The three held a televised debate but Sisi did not attend and sent an MP in his place.

Having used the military, police and general intelligence service to consolidate his rule, insiders expect that Sisi will make increasing use of the civilian paramilitary force Falcon Group, Egypt's most prominent security company which has close links to the regime and intelligence services, to maintain control in his third term (AC Vol 64 No 23, Into the arms of Abdel Fattah el Sisi).

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