Egypt’s Sisi begins third term, after economic bailout

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi begins his third term this week buoyed by massive fresh financing, but experts say the road out of economic crisis will still be long and arduous.

Sisi won December’s presidential election with 89.6 percent of the vote, standing against three unknowns.

He is set to begin his third term officially on Wednesday, with local media reporting that he will swear the oath before parliament the day before.

This six-year term is set to be the 69-year-old’s last, unless another constitutional amendment again prolongs his tenure.

Pundits have speculated about a potential cabinet reshuffle as Cairo struggles to contain the fallout from two years of punishing economic crisis and dire foreign currency shortages.

This week, Egyptians will watch Sisi swear the oath from the New Administrative Capital — a controversial $58-billion project in the desert east of Cairo, while many people struggle to make ends meet with inflation currently 35 percent.

The bailout, more generous than widely expected, has come with strings attached for Cairo — namely moving to a flexible exchange rate and “withdrawing the state and military from economic activity”, according to IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva.

Over the past decade, Cairo has waged what Lotfy calls a “war of attrition” against civil society — detaining tens of thousands of people, prosecuting rights groups and eradicating nearly all opposition.

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