Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is the sixth Egyptian president, re-elected in March 2018 with 97 percent of the votes.
This is the story of a field marshal turned president:
Born in 1954, el-Sisi was raised in el-Gamaliya, in an alleyway that lies on the edge of the Jewish quarter of Cairo’s old city.
“I was born and raised in an area with immense cultural diversity… and I used to see the synagogue in the Jewish quarter,” el-Sisi later recalled in a TV interview.
Egypt fought three wars with Israel in his early years, the last of which was in 1973, when he was 19.
- Upon graduating from the military academy in 1977, el-Sisi married his maternal cousin Entissar Amer. They have three sons and a daughter.
El-Sisi continued his military training at the UK Joint Services Command and Staff College in 1992 and received a master’s degree from the US Army War College in Pennsylvania in 2006.
After serving as security chief at the military attache office in Saudi Arabia, el-Sisi returned to Egypt in 2008 as chief of staff of the northern military zone.
In February 2011, shortly after the Egyptian revolution, a military council assumed control of the country and appointed el-Sisi as the head of military intelligence.
El-Sisi was publicly criticised for defending “virginity tests” carried out on female protesters during the revolution, which he said were conducted to “protect girls from rape as well as the army from possible allegations”.
El-Sisi’s ascent to power came about in the summer of 2013, during massive anti-Morsi protests planned for June 30.
Amid calls for President Morsi to step down, el-Sisi issued a 48-hour ultimatum for the president to “meet the demands of the people,” or call for early elections.
Citing electoral legitimacy, Morsi proposed to form a new consensus government, but the military nonetheless went ahead and deposed him once the deadline expired on July 3.
On July 3, in a pivotal statement in Egyptian politics, el-Sisi announced the overthrow of Egypt’s first democratically elected president, the temporary suspension of the constitution, and the appointment of a judge as temporary president until new elections were held.
Although el-Sisi promised to guarantee freedom of expression, the military-backed interim government went on to outlaw all activities and organisations related to the former president’s party, the Muslim Brotherhood, and embarked on a campaign of arresting and silencing its supporters.
Since the overthrow of President Morsi in July 2013, thousands of his supporters camped on the streets demanding his release.
In August 2013, the army forcefully dispersed demonstrations in Rabaa al-Adawiya Square in Cairo, resulting in the death of about 1,000 people.
Human Rights Watch described the massacre as “one of the largest killings of demonstrators in a single day in recent history”.
In November 2013, a law was passed banning demonstrations unless they had prior police approval.
Initially, el-Sisi denied any intentions to hold the office, and in the run-up to the 2014 elections he said: “you just can’t believe that there are people who don’t aspire for authority.”
But on March 26, 2014, he confirmed expectations by announcing that he would resign from the military to run for president later that year.
“I have spent all my life as a soldier for the sake of the country … I am telling you that I intend to run for the president of Egypt, and this support from you will give me this honour,” he declared.
- On June 3, 2014, he was declared the winner of the presidential election with 96.9 percent of the vote.
You just can’t believe that there are people who don’t aspire for authority
SOURCE: Al Jazeera News