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The news that keeps us Onward On!

The Carroll News

The news that keeps us Onward On!

The Carroll News

From Cairo to Cleveland: A Prospective on the 2023 Egyptian Election

The President of JCU’s Coptic Club shares his opinion on the upcoming elections
Activists protest against Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisis visit to France
MiddleEast Monitor
Activists protest against Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi’s visit to France

From Dec. 10 to Dec.12, Egyptians will be going to the polls in their third executive election since the Arab Spring (a series of pro-democracy uprisings and protests across the Middle East and North Africa that began in late 2010, demanding political reforms, social justice and governmental change).

The spring, which saw average citizens from Morocco to Syria push for reforms against dictatorships, was innovative in the use of social media to organize protests and ensure accountability for new electoral regimes.

In Egypt this new movement, marked with hope, excitement and potential change saw Mohammed Morsi, leader of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, ascend to the Egyptian Presidency. This would only last a year though, despite his influence as a populist, grounded in the issues of the average Muslim Egyptian.

Currently, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, a U.S.-trained and pro-western politician, is in charge. In the legislature, a coalition with the National Future Party (Sisi’s personal party in parliament), along with other non-affiliated supporters creates the everyday policies of the nation. The military, which ousted Morsi in 2014 is loyal to el-Sisi, is his most powerful tool in the country. With their help, Ex-President Morsi was placed in prison where he died awaiting trial for treason in 2019.

Sisi won the 2018 election with a margin of 97%, a situation where Reuters posited there was “no real opposition.” Now, some fear that the same result will come in this year’s election even as a hope for liberalization still lingers in the memories of some Egyptians, both at home and abroad.

Toby Khalil ‘25, President of the Coptic Club, which represents the Orthodox Egyptians of JCU, told The Carroll News that “first, Egypt is taking the right steps by having elections… it never used to be this way. ” While Khalil does recognize that the election process is imperfect, he also says it would be “unfair to compare it to American elections.”

Khalil also mentioned that the U.S. still has plenty of troubles of its own and has been around for over 200 years, whereas the Arab Republic of Egypt has only existed for 71 years.

Morsi, though the victim of an undemocratic coup, was no friend to the Coptic people.

“From a Coptic perspective, Morsi’s term in office was not beneficial,” said Khalil. “Pictures of the crescent and the Cross protesting in Egypt” that united protesters in 2011 “were ignored under Morsi” afterward.

This doesn’t mean Sisi’s abuses, such as jailing dissidents in 2018, should be ignored, but this does put a touch of gray on an issue that some characterize as black and white. Regardless, the pressing issues such as the Israel-Hamas War and the energy blackouts occurring have equally angered pro and anti-Sisi Egyptians.

In Khalil’s opinion, it seems to be a “unifying force for the people,” though it would still be a “surprise if Sisi doesn’t win.”

Now, some Egyptians are heading to the polls and others are not, either in protest or imprisonment. Yet, a glimmer of hope can perhaps be gained.

JCU’s Coptic Club represents the freedom of choice and voice of Egyptians in Cleveland and others abroad from their homeland, and hopefully soon, that same energy or free discussion can translate to Cairo, Alexandria, Aswan and all of the Arab Republic of Egypt.

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Comments (2)

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  • T

    Toby KhalilDec 4, 2023 at 11:47 am

    A great piece! Thank you Michael!

    • M

      MichaelDec 5, 2023 at 7:06 pm

      Thank you for your insights!