Sisi: Ready for annual elections but costs to be covered from abroad

Addressing foreign journalists at the World Youth Forum, Sisi says he is ready to hold elections in Egypt on an annual basis on condition of not bearing the financial cost.

While addressing foreign journalists at the World Youth Forum, Sisi said: “I always say that I am ready, every year, to hold elections in Egypt on one condition: you bear the financial cost of the electoral process.

“I am ready to do this every year in the presence of all international organisations… and if the Egyptians say ‘No’, I will leave them.”

Sisi’s elections comments backfired, swiftly prompting the hashtag “Leave Sisi” to top Egypt’s trending list on Twitter. Using the hashtag, one Twitter user wrote: “We don’t want you. We are unable to eat and drink, we are unable to pay bills, we cannot pay taxes, we live in our homes not reassured, we do not feel safe.”

From defending Egypt’s human rights record to allowing protests in exchange for $50bn, we take a look at some of Sisi’s most questionable answers at international forum

In his own international forum designed to cater to youth needs and aspirations, Egypt’s Abdel Fattah al-Sisi dominated the headlines with his unusual takes on elections, protests and more.

During the fourth edition of the World Youth Forum (WYF), held in Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh between 10-13 January, Sisi addressed participants and journalists more than once.

WYF has been held annually since 2017, except for 2020, when it was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. It is sponsored by Sisi and is open to people of all nations between the ages of 18 and 40. The forum is an international NGO with a statement message of “sending a message of peace, prosperity, harmony and progress from the youth to the entire world”.

As a sponsor of the event, Sisi always had a lot to say.

$50bn for protests

Sisi also said he can allow protests in return for $50bn to be paid from outside on an annual basis.

According to Sisi’s allegations , freedom of expression in Egypt is guaranteed and he is fully prepared to accept any real criticism in order to advance the Egyptian state. He’ll even allow Egyptians to demonstrate in the street, if he’s given $50bn each year.

“Write down $50 billion each year, and I will ask Egyptians to demonstrate,” he said.

Sisi justified his request by explaining how Egypt needs around $20bn-30bn annually to cover its expenses.

“Is it normal that I can earn and save this money while the country has demonstrations?” he asked.

Protests in Egypt last year were met with riot police, teargas and rubber bullets, all accompanied by the threat of arrest.

Meanwhile, Egypt is in the midst of building a new administrative capital just outside Cairo to become the new financial center of the country, at a total cost of $45bn.