And so the turmoil has at last come to an end. Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi is the new president of Egypt. He comes to office on the back of a massive wave of popularity, securing almost double the number of votes that brought Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Mursi to power. Egypt is now truly turning a new page.
This past period has seen Egypt following a difficult road, beset by a dark cloud of violence and chaos. But now the country has concluded this difficult stage, finally passing beyond its “Brotherhood Bar Lev Barrier.”
Egypt has been vulnerable lately—despite all the efforts of the military, the police, the judiciary and some sections of the media. Interim President Adly Mansour was right when he said during his farewell speech on Wednesday that these parties had worked hard to ensure the endurance of the oldest inhabited country in human history.
So what now for Egypt? Well, we must stop talking about the past—which is to say the recent past of the Muslim Brotherhood and their terrorist activities—and work to resolve Egypt’s problems, particularly those relating to the country’s economy and its development.
Does this mean neglecting or ignoring the actions of the Muslim Brotherhood today? Not at all. But it does mean dealing with this threat proportionately, while also making sure to deal with the other threats facing Egypt.
President-elect Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi is well aware of this, and that is why his first speech to the Egyptian people following the announcement of his election victory was succinct and to-the-point. Sisi thanked the Egyptian people for their support, thanked his election rival Hamdeen Sabahy for his participation in the election process, and thanked everyone who played a role in ensuring the poll took place successfully. After these messages of thanks, he put forward a message that makes his dedication to hard work crystal-clear for all Egyptians: “Now is the time for work,” Egypt’s new president said.
So, what is the biggest challenge Sisi will face?
First of all, he must promote and maintain security, so that the Egyptian people feel safe. This in turn will help restore Egypt’s ailing tourism industry—for there can be no tourism without security.
At the same time, and in parallel with this, he must also work to improve Egypt’s economy and hasten its development. This is something Sisi has pledged to do and we have already heard his creative vision regarding Egypt’s development. This, of course, requires money, not to mention the trust of regional and international bodies.
Egypt’s national debt, according to a report by Egypt’s Ministry of Planning, stood at 1.238 trillion Egyptian pounds (173 billion US dollars) at the start of Mursi’s term in office. This had increased to 1.516 trillion pounds (212 billion dollars) by the time he was ousted from power just over a year later.
The first thing a president needs is the support of the majority, and this is something that president-elect Sisi has. However, this may not be enough, particularly when there are certain countries that oppose—whether implicitly or explicitly—the new situation in Egypt.
Despite this, Egypt continues to enjoy the support of the major countries in the region, who are exerting all their strengths and capabilities in this regard.
Here, we must make mention of the stance taken by Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz. He has taken an historic position on Egypt.
Egypt is not alone: Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and all noble Arab countries stand firmly behind it.