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

The slogan: Long Live Egypt.

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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.

instagram.com

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.

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.

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.

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

Mada Masr@MadaMasr

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

03:22 PM - 5 May 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Sisi: the armed forces will not interfere in politics.

Mada Masr@MadaMasr

Sisi: the armed forces will not interfere in politics.

04:12 PM - 5 May 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

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

Mada Masr@MadaMasr

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

05:02 PM - 5 May 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Sisi: on a personal level I love Egyptian women.

Mada Masr@MadaMasr

Sisi: on a personal level I love Egyptian women.

04:32 PM - 6 May 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Sisi evades question about a Russian-Egyptian arms deal.

Mada Masr@MadaMasr

Sisi evades question about a Russian-Egyptian arms deal.

05:03 PM - 6 May 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

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

Mada Masr@MadaMasr

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

05:24 PM - 6 May 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

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

Amro Ali@_amroali

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

05:37 PM - 6 May 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

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.

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.

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.

instagram.com

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

instagram.com

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

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

10:39 AM - 28 Apr 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

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.

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.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

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.

Former BuzzFeed World Reporter, Current BuzzFeed News Contributor

Contact Miriam Berger at miriam.berger+done@buzzfeed.com.

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