MOSCOW, April 3. /TASS/. The outcome of Egypt’s presidential election indicates that the country’s current leadership has the domestic situation under control and enjoys considerable popularity among the population, Vasily Kuznetsov, Head of the Center for Arab and Islamic Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Oriental Studies, told TASS.
"Due to the ever-present terrorist threat, and the fact that the country is actually waging a war against terror groups in the Sinai, the popularity of the current leadership is rising, while the protest mood is declining. Moreover, the population’s cohesion is obvious," he said commenting on the outcome of the Egyptian presidential election where the present leader won by a landslide of 97.08% of the vote. "As expected, the [electoral] victory was clinched by incumbent President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Therefore, one can safely say that Egypt’s current leadership has situation in the country under control. Moreover, it is legitimate and enjoys the support of a sizeable part of Egyptian society."
The expert recalled that Egypt’s presidential election had been subject to pressure both in and outside the country. "The election has been criticized in the West both due to the lack of any real alternative candidates and the use of administrative leverage," he said. "Nevertheless, one can state that there were no serious anti-government rallies associated with the election. Some part of the opposition called for boycotting it, but this appeal was not supported."
According to Kuznetsov, al-Sisi’s victory will have a positive impact on Russian-Egyptian cooperation, since the key areas of collaboration remain unchanged. "Among the trajectories of interaction are military-technical cooperation, along with prospects for creating a Russian military base in Egypt. This issue is on the table," the expert noted. "Economic cooperation will develop, above all, in nuclear power, agriculture and Russia’s possible involvement in megaprojects currently implemented by Egypt. Another avenue of cooperation will be along the regional track, which includes the Libyan, Palestinian and Syrian trajectories. However, cooperation there will be less intensive, as Egypt currently focuses on its internal policy."
The expert also focused on cultivating tourism in light of resumed flights between Russia and Egypt. "Unfortunately, we live in a world, where no one is immune from terror attacks," he said referring to the Sinai A321 jet crash in October 2015. "I do not think, however, that this will be an obstacle for Russian tourists. The level of maintaining security has grown thanks to the measures taken by both parties to enhance security," he noted.