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Egypt presidential polls: Profiles of the two contenders

Egypt presidential polls: Profiles of the two contenders


Egyptians will head to the polls between March 26 and 28 to vote for president, as per the programme shared by the country’s electoral commission.

Voters will choose between two presidential candidates; incumbent president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and El-Ghad Party chairperson, Moussa Mostafa Moussa.

President Sisi has been accused of stifling the democratic space and preventing potentially strong candidates from challenging him at the polls.

Several aspirants including former prime minister Ahmed Shafik, former army chief of staff Gen. Sami Anan and prominent lawyer Khaled Ali, withdrew their bids citing an unfavourable environment and a perceived bias of the electoral authorities in favour of the incumbent president.

Egypt’s Sisi launches presidential bid as rivals continue to ‘fall’

As part of our coverage of the Egyptian presidential election, 2018, we present a profile of the two contenders.

Abdel Fattah el-Sisi

Born on November 19, 1954, the former general turned politician seeks a second term in office, to make progress on ‘achievements’ made during his four year tenure as president of Egypt.

Sisi became president after winning the 2014 presidential elections, a few months after he resigned from the country’s armed forces.

Field Marshal Sisi was minister of defence and commander of the Egyptian armed forces, when he led the military coup that overthrew president Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood in July 2013.

An alumni of the Egyptian Military Academy, Sisi has also trained at the Joint Services Command and Staff College at Watchfield, Oxfordshire, in the United Kingdom, and the United States Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Sisi was appointed minister of defence by president Morsi in August 2012.

Sisi’s first term in office has been defined by the fight against Islamist extremists, ambitious infrastructure projects like a new Suez Canal and a new capital city near Cairo, and a struggle to control prices for everyday goods against costly subsidies provided by the government.

His authoritarian style and human rights record is however critiqued by his opponents who have called him a dictator.

Sisi is married to Entissar Amer and has four children; three sons and a daughter.

Moussa Mostafa Moussa

Born on 13 July, 1952, is a professional architect, who ventured into politics at an early age as a member of the New Wafd party youth organisation.

Moussa who heads the Egyptian Council for Arab Tribes, became the chairperson of El-Ghad Party in September, 2005, following fierce disputes with the party’s founder Ayman Nour.

Moussa seeks to unseat President Sisi, but says he will only build on the progress and achivements that have been made by the former general.

Moussa is seen by analysts as a staged candidate to give the election credibility, after several aspirants withdrew from the race.

The 65 year old campaigned for Sisi, before he announced on January 20, 2018 his intention to run for office himself.

Moussa earned a master’s degree in Architecture from École Nationale Supérieure d’architecture de Versailles in France, and was recently challenged by a prominent lawyer who argued that he didn’t have a certified university or higher education degree, which is a key requirement for candidates running in the presidential election.

Moussa is married and has two daughters.

Voting in the 2018 presidential election in Egypt will commence on March 26. Sixty million eligible voters will cast their ballots in the election between March 26 and 28 in Egypt, while it will begin on March 16 for expatriates from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. in each country’s local time.

The winning candidate will be announced on April 2.

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