Sisi and the presidential adventure

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

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Egypt's next president will not be veteran politician Amr Moussa or Nasserite leader Hamdin Sabahi or independent Brotherhood figure Abdelmonem Abul Fotouh or retired army commander Ahmad Shafiq.

It's certain that Army General Abdelfattah al-Sisi has massive popularity that will guarantee him a real victory; and not an incomplete one like the case was with ousted President Mohammad Mursi, or a forged one like the case was with deposed Oresident Husni Mubarak.

Unstable political landscape

Despite that, Sisi's candidature and holding the post of president is a dangerous adventure. Governance and politics in Egypt are not a guaranteed task like the situation used to be ever since the republic was established after 1952.

Sisi's candidacy is a mistake because his role is more important than that of the presidency. His role and position is to be a regulator of politics and guardian of the new constitution and regime. If he descends to holding an executive post, he will become part of the problem.

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

The political regime is not stable yet and for three years now the country has been going through a dangerous transitional phase in which the popular mood is quickly shifting from loving the army to becoming angry with it and from accepting the Muslim Brotherhood to hating it.

Each wrong step costs a lot as we have seen what happened at the beginning of the revolution. Delay in writing the constitution after holding the presidential elections turned elected president Mohammad Mursi into a Pharaoh controlling the parliament, prosecution, judiciary and the media.

Sisi's role transcends the presidency

Sisi's candidacy will be a mistake because his role is more important than that of the presidency. His role and position is to be a guardian of the new constitution and regime. If he descends to holding an executive post, he will become part of the problem and there will be no one to look after the historical transition and defend it like he did in July after the eruption of popular protests which ousted Mursi and put an end to the fascist Brotherhood rule.

Sisi's stepping down from looking after the presidency to becoming president will make him part of the problems expected over the duration of the four difficult upcoming years.

The rivals of the next president will not only be the Brotherhood, as other parties will also take to the street and join the opposition; parties who have economic and social demands and who will emerge as a result of the difficult circumstances the country is going through.
If president, will Sisi endure?

Sisi must accept the fact that if objections reach the boiling point, he may have to resign before the next four years end. He may forcefully hand over power if the economic and political situation deteriorates. The Egyptians - who insisted on toppling Mubarak and rejected waiting until his term ended - will not respect the four years contract to which the new president is elected.

I know that Egyptians don't currently have great leadership choices. Most of the leaders don't have the massive popularity which is necessary to lay the basis for the transition and strengthen the political regime.

Since the army represents the most prominent and trusted institution and since it previously kept distant from political disputes, the majority of Egyptians relied on it after the Brotherhood besieged them. The army was thus capable of protecting the millions of angry Egyptians and met their demands to oust President Mursi and his regime - just like it did when the people took to the streets against Mubarak.

The question is: Who will the Egyptians ask tomorrow for help if they decide to remove their president? And how will they be dealt with?

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on Jan. 14, 2014.

Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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