Egypt's President El-Sisi says he will stand for reelection

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. (AFP)
Updated 20 January 2018
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Egypt's President El-Sisi says he will stand for reelection

CAIRO: Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi said on Friday he will run for a second term in office in an election in March, which the former military commander is widely expected to win.
“Today ... I tell you frankly and transparently that I hope you would allow and accept my candidacy for the president’s post,” Sissi told a cheering crowd.
The vote will be held on March 26-28, with a run-off vote on April 24-26 if no candidate wins more than 50 percent in the first round. Candidates will register from Jan. 20 to 29.
In the televised announcement, Sissi listed Egypt’s achievements during his first term, including a nascent financial recovery after years of political turmoil and economic instability.
“Building the state takes 16 to 20 years, I am trying to finish it in 8 years, God willing,” Sissi said.
The former general became president in 2014, winning 96.91 percent of the vote, although turnout was only about 47 percent of the 54 million voters, after voting was extended for a day.


Latest Gaza flare-up: What does it mean for the blockaded strip?

This cease-fire, like others before it, is fragile and could easily be derailed. (AFP)
Updated 22 min 10 sec ago
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Latest Gaza flare-up: What does it mean for the blockaded strip?

  • “Unfortunately aggression against the Palestinian people will continue.”
  • Israel and Hamas have fought three wars in Gaza since 2008

AFP JERUSALEM: A truce in Gaza has left Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu battling to keep his government afloat after Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman walked out in protest.

Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, welcomed Lieberman’s resignation on Wednesday as a “victory” — but what will it mean for Gaza?

Israel and Hamas have fought three wars in Gaza since 2008, interspersed with simmering hostilities and periodic spikes in violence.

Hamas refuses to recognize Israel. The Jewish state, like the US and the EU, defines Hamas as a “terrorist” organization. For over a decade Israel has maintained a crippling blockade on the coastal strip.

An apparently botched Israeli army raid into the Gaza Strip triggered the worst escalation in violence since 2014 and brought the two sides to the brink of war.

On Tuesday, Hamas and Israel accepted an Egyptian-mediated cease-fire. Denouncing it as “capitulation,” Lieberman resigned from his post the next day, leaving the government with a majority of just one seat in Parliament.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad declared the cease-fire with military powerhouse Israel “a political victory.”

It came after Israel in October allowed Qatar to provide Gaza with fuel to help ease its chronic electricity crisis, under a UN-brokered deal.

In parallel, Egypt and the UN have been seeking to broker a long-term Gaza-Israel truce in exchange for Israel easing its embargo.

The events of the past week gave a boost to Hamas and its allies, said Gaza political analyst Mukhaimer Abu Saada. “But if there is a war that could change,” he said.

After the pounding Gaza took in 2014, most residents want above all to avoid a rerun. Indirect contacts between Israel and Hamas have eroded the status of the Palestinian Authority (PA).

A peace initiative by US President Donald Trump is expected to emerge in the next few months. The PA fears that it will drive the wedge even deeper between Gaza the West Bank, two territories long envisaged as part of a unified Palestinian state.

Jamal Al-Fadi, a professor of political science in Gaza, says such a divide suits Israel. “We can not have results against Israel except by unity,” he said.

This cease-fire, like others before it, is fragile and could easily be derailed.

With the Israeli political tensions unleashed by Lieberman’s departure, there will be fresh domestic pressure on Netanyahu to hit Hamas harder.

“The coming days will be difficult” for Gaza, Al-Fadi said.

“It was a right-wing government and the (next) elections will bring another right-wing government,” he said.

“Unfortunately aggression against the Palestinian people will continue.”