| 21 February 2024, Wednesday |

Egypt’s Sisi: Authoritarian leader with penchant for bridges

Supporters have praised Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi for stepping up security and spearheading an army-led infrastructure spree, but he has also come under fire for suppressing dissent that survived the country’s brief democratic period.

Ten years after toppling Egypt’s first democratically elected president, the former military chief is expected to win a third term in an election on December 10 that is overshadowed by the conflict in neighboring Gaza and a struggling economy.

Activists say tens of thousands of people were jailed in the ensuing crackdown, before Sisi turned his attention to state- and army-run mega-projects and development schemes.

The flagship project is a $58 billion New Administrative Capital rising in the desert east of Cairo, a site Sisi said would mark the birth of a new republic.

“We are not leaving Cairo, or Alexandria or Port Said or other provinces. We are moving forward with the old and the new together,” he said.

To his critics, the former intelligence general has led Egypt deeper into authoritarianism than even late former president Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted by a popular uprising in 2011 after ruling for three decades under a state of emergency.

  • Reuters