العربية

Egypt’s Presidential Elections 2024: Key Lessons

Dr. Hassan Salama

The 2024 Egyptian presidential elections have been a significant and new chapter in the national book since the moment the National Election Authority announced the opening of the candidacy, inviting voters to vote, through the propaganda campaigns of the four candidates and the procedures for the preparation of committees, up until the announcement of the result that President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi won a new term, until 2030 with 89.6% of the votes.

Through an objective and attentive scientific reading, all stages of the electoral process represented a more effective and important transition towards a more coherent and solid democracy, in which the Egyptian voter was the cornerstone with a growing awareness, a full understanding of the surrounding environment, the limits of the desired future, and a complete determination of alignment in favor of the nation, its stability, and security, until the choice of leadership capable of protecting the nation’s vessel in the face of multiple challenges, whether regarding security, economic, or development aspects.

It is not a repetition to refer to the stressed economic circumstances during which the elections were held amid Israel’s aggression against the Gaza Strip and serious and existential threats to Egypt’s national security, especially under the ongoing Israeli intentions to empty Gaza of its population and forcibly or voluntarily push them towards the Egyptian territory, intentions that were repeatedly rejected by the Egyptian leadership as an expression of official and popular rejections. This official stance of the Egyptian leadership was supported by the Egyptian voter, manifested by 66.8% of the country’s historical turnout and vote in favor of policies to protect and stabilize the country.

Furthermore, it is worth mentioning that the current economic conditions and accelerated global developments have created a real challenge to the development trajectories of all the world’s nations, and clearly Egypt, a circumstance on which hostile parties have sought to promote the difficulty of holding elections, and again by discouraging people’s trust, hoping to achieve poor turnout, which the state and citizens have failed together by organized and historical turnout.

Recalling what was previously mentioned is an affirmation of facts that will remain firmly documented in the history of this country, to be added to similar epics, when the citizens and the state crossed many turning and critical detours, overcame many challenges, and proceeded on the path of construction and development in destined strides.

Several lessons emerge from these documented facts, which should be learned and built upon towards a better future.

There is an inevitable need to re-understand the Egyptian people – especially the voter – whose voting behavior cannot be predicted. The scale of the foreign conspiracies that were hatched, the pressures that were exerted, and the efforts for which millions of dollars were expended to discourage the voter from exercising his right have fallen in against Egyptian consciousness and the subjective feeling of the importance of the electoral vote, especially in this delicate circumstance in the age of the nation. The Egyptians’ were not only choosing their political leadership for the next six years, but also were directing a message to the world that the Egyptians are alive, able to continue and build despite the challenges, a message that the Egyptians are a united and cohesive bloc against any threat to national security, as they support every measure, policy, and practice that protects their national security and preserves their state.

The voting behavior of the Egyptian voter in the 2024 presidential elections will open the door for serious researchers to conduct more objective studies and research to explain the Egyptian citizen’s relationship with the state in times of crisis on the one hand and to understand the Egyptian national character in a deeper way on the other hand.

Building a new relationship between the citizen and the state has become inevitable, and it is necessary for us to be aware that the citizen is aware and acquainted, and that his awareness of the danger to his homeland strengthens his nature of belonging to respond to the national call, which was clear in various patterns of behavior, the closest of which was the respectable voting behavior of the Egyptian voter in the 2024 presidential elections.

This respectable voting behavior and the intensity of electoral participation prove that the citizen is a future partner – with the state – whose choices must be respected and dealt with, by a logic of appreciation and in-depth examination, in order to reach a common goal, which is to preserve the state for the benefit of development and protect the citizen, who is the instrument and goal of development.

In this context, it has also become necessary to develop a national strategy to enhance awareness and prevent any attempts to penetrate or falsify it. This strategy must be jointly developed and implemented by the state, its institutions, and multiple societal entities, including parties and civil organizations.

It is imperative also to strengthen the public sphere and dedicate and strengthen the democratic state, of which the last electoral process was one of its chapters, as it witnessed the competition of four candidates, including three leaders of political parties, in a sophisticated civilized scene, culminating in the president-elect receiving them, thanking them for their contribution, and participating in the democratic electoral process.

Efforts to enhance the public sphere preceded the electoral process with several practices; the nearest aspect was President Sisi’s call to hold a national dialogue that combines all components and sectors of political life, in order to reach a common space on which the new republic would be founded. The presidential elections indicated the parties’ understanding of their political roles and functions, especially with regard to the functions of political formation and political recruitment, as they indicate the importance of parties showing their members the meaning of politics and how to practice it on the one hand, and the ability of parties to provide the necessary cadres to compete for various positions, whether at the level of legislative authority or executive authority, on the other hand.

The Elections and the National Dialogue eased the necessity of completing the democratic arrangements through a careful review of the parties’ relationship with their internal structures and the extent of the availability of internal democracy, as well as the parties’ relationship with their popular bases, as entities seeking peaceful competition for power, in addition to reconsidering the large number of political parties, which are more than 104 so far, and the extent of their need on the one hand, and the extent of their efficiency in shaping the interests of specific societal and factional sectors on the other hand.

There seems to be an urgent need to think about the issue and dynamics of party merger, so that we have party blocs that have their bases on the ground, can express the interests of their supporters, adopt realistic and implementable visions, and have the ability to compete for the benefit of the nation and the citizen.

The provisions of the Constitution and law remain the framework regulating political and societal interactions, which emerged through the political will to complete the electoral process as scheduled by the National Election Authority and under full judicial supervision, ensuring neutrality, integrity, credibility, and transparency, along with providing a supportive environment for the voter to express his desire.

Complete judicial supervision of the electoral process is one of the important incentives for people to turn to electoral committees and exercise the rights guaranteed by the Constitution and law, in addition to the facilities provided by the National Election Authority, whether for Egyptians abroad or internal voters, especially people with disabilities. There was no interest in the electoral vote as much as it was – and still is – directed to the Egyptian citizen/voter, who has the right to expression and choice.

The preservation of transparency, credibility and rule of law – as has been the case since nine years ago until now – represents a guarantee for the maintenance of the development and structuring process based on effective participation.

The law is similar to a living organism; it grows and flourishes when the citizen realizes his interest, which is achieved through respect for the law, and becomes abandoned if it violates the interests of the masses of citizens. Hence, it may be required – to benefit from the presidential elections – that we always depend on the scientific approach, through conducting opinion polls to measure the citizen’s orientations and learn about his point of view and potential behavior before issuing laws, while reserving the right to measure the impact after implementing the law.

Building a trust-filled relationship between the citizen and the state is the engine of real development and the barrier against attempts at polarization and division.

The maintenance of the vitality of political life after the electoral process may require the continuation of the national dialogue as a sustainable project – not a seasonal one – that guarantees the cohesion of the national fabric, through areas of correspondence between political actors to achieve the goal, even if the means differ, as variety of opinion remains based on a single national basis, with no room for any personal interests.

Maintaining the national dialogue depends on reconsidering the issues and problems, with their political, economic, and social axes, and searching for innovative solutions to them – while not exporting the problems – in order to achieve a better future desired for the Egyptian citizen.

In conclusion, the lesson of the presidential elections confirms that the Egyptians support their chosen leadership in its movements, policies and procedures to preserve Egyptian national security, including the trust in its wisdom and ability to bear responsibility and complete the achievement process, to build the hoped-for, safe, and stable future for which the Egyptians voted.

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