Egypt’s Sisi Has Started Campaigning For The Presidential Election He Has Probably Already Won

The slogan: Long Live Egypt.

1. This is Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the Egyptian general who oversaw the ouster of Mohammed Morsi in July 2013 and, after nearly a year as Egypt’s de facto leader, is expected to win this month’s presidential election. Now he’s even started campaigning.

2. He kicked it off this week with his first official campaign interview, pre-taped and aired in two parts on Monday and Tuesday night. Sisi fans were pumped. Others doubted if the general would actually have something new to say.

3. Interviewing Sisi were two popular faces from Egypt’s decidedly pro-Sisi talk show scene. Here is Ibrahim Eissa, once one of Egypt’s most outspoken critics of ousted president Hosni Mubarak, now recognizable for his suspenders and flip flopping views.

4. And Lamees Hadidi, a presenter on Egypt’s CBC channel and a frequent target of satirist Bassem Youssef’s jokes for her anti-revolution stance. Hadidi was Mubarak’s spokesperson for his 2005 election, which, much like now, was won before voting began.

5. Sorry, if you were watching this in Egypt there was probably a blackout.

6. And we’re back.

7. ICYMI, here are some live tweets of the event from Mada Masr, Egypt’s leading independent news site.

Sisi: I nominated myself because the Egyptian people called on me to do so.

— Mada Masr (@MadaMasr)

Sisi: the armed forces will not interfere in politics.

— Mada Masr (@MadaMasr)

Sisi: There will be nothing called the Muslim Brotherhood during my tenure.

— Mada Masr (@MadaMasr)

Sisi: Egypt needs men, lions.

— Mada Masr (@MadaMasr)

Sisi: on a personal level I love Egyptian women.

— Mada Masr (@MadaMasr)

Sisi evades question about a Russian-Egyptian arms deal.

— Mada Masr (@MadaMasr)

Sisi: Saudi will be the first country I visit if elected president.

— Mada Masr (@MadaMasr)

The #SisiInterview is over. To sum up his policies: "Love #Egypt enough, and everything will get fixed"

— Amro Ali (@_amroali)

16. Those streaming online could also watch an ongoing battle in the comments between Sisi fans and their “CC”s of support, and his opponents replying with 4s to signal displeasure with Sisi and support for the Muslim Brotherhood.

17. In addition to the interview, Sisi also launched his campaign website this week (careful, it can take a moment to load), replete with his bio, speeches, and a photo-gallery.

18. A year ago, the general was largely unknown to the Egyptian public. Now you can scroll through portraits of the young soldier who has won over (or arrested) much of the Egyptian public — real high-tech fades in and fades out included.

19. Here’s another fun trip down memory lane from the time Sisi studied at the U.S. War College in 2006.

20. Since Sisi first publicly shed his military attire for a civilian suit in April, the general has also been using his Facebook page and Instagram account to share images of him doing seemingly presidential things.

21. Here he is… sitting.

22. Here he is with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.

23. Here he is cordially meeting members of Egypt’s political left. A range of Egyptian parties — including the Salafi Al Nour — have announced their support for Sisi.

24. And here is Sisi with members of April 6, a key part of the 2011 revolution that ousted Mubarak. This picture is from back in 2011 — before an Egyptian court banned April 6 last week.

Picture of El-Sisi meeting April 6 members in 2011, they were not spies back then!

— The Big Pharaoh (@TheBigPharaoh)

25. Sisi’s Facebook page provides another reflection of the Sisimania that appears to still be lighting up Egypt. Scroll through and there’s image after image of Egyptians tweeting pictures of themselves with pro-Sisi signs.

26. Here are the pictures all together! With the words “Long live Egypt” superimposed.

27. Things in Egypt aren’t easy these days, with economic troubles and continuing political unrest. And there’s a lot of love for Sisi out there, as the mainly middle aged men interviewed in this campaign video will tell you.

28. With Egyptian media largely parroting the Sisi narrative, there’s increasingly less space for opposing politics and discourse. The verdict’s still out, however, on how long Sisi can keep that smile up after he officially becomes president.

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