Sisi’s political position as President of Egypt appears to grow increasingly secure as there is large speculation of an amendment to the Constitution that would allow longer terms as well as the removal of term limits to the presidency. Moreover, Sisi has minimized the power of NGOs as well as exercised increased control over public discourse and the media to further ensure his government power remains intact.
Potential for Prolonged Political Power
Following a 2019 parliamentary vote and referendum, al-Sisi holds the ability to remain in power until 2030 as his second term has been extended from four to six years and he will be allowed to seek one more term in 2024. Not only did the referendum add to Sisi’s power with regard to term length, but also in his oversight into the judiciary and military. Such extensive constitutional changes emphasize the largely unchallenged power across politics, military and other sectors that Sisi has gathered since taking power in 2014. Interestingly, however, is how nonvocal and unsupportive Sisi had been of the amendments to the Constitution prior to their passing. While proponents of the changes say they are necessary for Egypt’s stability, Sisi insisted that he would not seek a third term nor did he believe it necessary. Nevertheless, the referendum passed and Sisi has stated he will not stay in office any longer than the people want him to.
Main threat to Sisi’s Political Power: Muslim Brotherhood
The narrative that has both bolstered and maintained Sisi’s power remains: “the greatest threat to the Arab world’s most populous nation is the Muslim Brotherhood and he is the man to guarantee stability.” Since his election, Sisi has done everything in his power to limit the influence of the anti-Western political organization. Some of these efforts include arresting 1000s of members and possible associates to the Brotherhood’s cause, ranging as far as arresting priests of ‘unsupervised mosques.’ Moreover, the government has seized businesses and assets associated with the group, shattering the organization’s structure. All in all, Sisi has managed to largely minimize the power and influence of the organization within Egypt and the MENA region all the while promoting himself to the west as a bulwark against extremism.
Main threat to Sisi’s Political Power: the Power of the People and the Press
In accordance with the arrests of members of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Egyptian government under Sisi has also arrested 1000s of ‘political prisoners’ for protesting against the government, spreading fake news, misrepresenting the ideals of Egypt and more. Sisi’s government has exercised such harsh control over public discourse in what one can only assume is an attempt to avoid the mistakes and ultimate shortcomings of previous administrations. With regard to repressing the people of Egypt, Sisi has made broad notions such as banning demonstrations/protests and more specific notions such as limiting the amount of money NGOs can receive in donations without government approval In relation to the press, Sisi has largely increased regulations, closely monitored social media posts and gone so far as to publish and promote an informational skit aimed at teaching kids the importance of observing and reporting suspicious activity; especially when it is conducted by your close ones .