The results of Egypt’s presidential election this month were about as surprising as the sunrise. President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi, who came to power in 2013 in a coup, won reelection with 97 percent of the vote. Of course, Egyptians didn’t really have other options: Since the coup, Sissi has embarked upon a brutal campaign of repression, and NPR reported that six potential opponents were detained or pressured by the government to withdraw their candidacies. Still, elites, especially business elites, have largely welcomed the new president, according to H.A. Hellyer of the Atlantic Council; Sissi has served as an antidote to a government backed by the poor and Islamists. Sissi’s consolidation of power, as perhaps the most dominant military ruler in Egypt in decades, would have been shocking only 10 years ago, when militaries were largely retreating from politics and democracy seemed to be thriving globally. In the 1990s and much of the 2000s, the idea that military officers would again seriously erode civilian rule and take control of governments around the world — and even be welcomed at the helm by citizens — seemed outlandish. Although coups and military meddling were common during the Cold War, they became rare after… Read full this story
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