Egypt’s Cabinet Submits Resignation To President Sisi

Egypt’s cabinet submitted its resignation to President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi on Tuesday following his swearing-in for a second term after a landslide election victory.

The government, headed by Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, will stay on in a caretaker capacity until the new one is appointed.

The move is routine ahead of the formation of a new government after Sisi’s easy re-election in March. All serious opponents had withdrawn beforehand from the race.

Sisi said in a televised address that after next week’s Muslim holiday Eid al-Fitr, Egypt would see “a number of great achievements that will be inaugurated”. He did not say what they would be.

“I have great hope that in two years, you will see Egypt in a different place (God willing),” he said.

Since the election, dozens of mostly secular or socialist critics of Sisi have been arrested and are being investigated on charges that include spreading fake news and belonging to illegal or terrorist organisations.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi Wins Second Term

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has won a second term with 96.9 percent of valid votes raising a previous tally from the preliminary count.

Al-Ahram, the flagship state-owned newspaper raised its estimate of turnout in the March 26-28 election to 42.08 percent, saying 25 million of Egypt’s 60 million registered voters had cast ballots.

On Tuesday, the paper had reported that Sisi was re-elected with 92 percent of the vote on a turnout of just over 40 percent.  It gave no explanation for the upward revisions. Sisi, who as army chief ousted Egypt’s first freely elected president Islamist Mohamed Morsi after mass street protests in 2013, won his first term in 2014 with 96.9 percent of the vote.

The only other candidate on the ballot paper this year, Moussa Mostafa Moussa, won 3.1 percent of the vote, Al-Ahram said. Moussa, a little-known politician who is himself a supporter of the president, registered immediately before the close date for applications, saving the election from being a one-horse race.

The National Election Authority is scheduled to announce the full official result on Monday.  Moussa conceded defeat on Wednesday evening, saying he had hoped for 10 percent of the vote but knew all along that he was up against the “immense popularity” of the president.

More heavyweight would-be challengers were all sidelined, detained or pulled out. Opposition groups had called for a boycott of this week’s vote which they labelled a charade.  Even at 42 percent, turnout was down on the 47 percent in the 2014 election despite appeals from Prime Minister Sherif Ismail for voters to fulfil their patriotic duty.

 

Egypt Attack Blamed On ISIS, More Deaths Recorded

Egypt has blamed ISIS fighters for the attack carried out during Friday prayers at a mosque in the country’s Sinai Peninsula.

The Egyptian government placed the blame on the group citing eyewitnesses who saw the attackers carrying ISIS flags.

Sadeq also said that the death toll has witnessed a dramatic increase from the previously announced 235 fatalities to 305 worshipers, including 27 children, while another 128 were injured.

He also said that the attack was carried out by 25-30 militants who arrived at the mosque in five all-terrain vehicles and destroying seven cars parked outside belonging to the worshipers.

Worshipers told Sadeq’s office that some of the attackers wore masks, but all wore military-like uniforms.

One of the survivors of the attack said that some of the inscription on the ISIS flags read, “There is no god but God. Muhammad is the messenger of God”.

An eyewitness described the perpetrators as having stationed themselves at the mosque’s three exits and deliberately attacking people who tried to escape the building, as well as passing vehicles, after first shooting some who were “kneeling in prayer.”

“The sight was horrific,” the witness, Ibrahim Shetewy, told ABC News in Arabic, adding, “We carried whomever we found alive and took them in pickups and private cars until more ambulances could come and help.”

Shetewy described the mosque in question as one frequented by travellers on their way in and out of the area. He said the building is “huge” and was lined with bodies and a large quantity of shell casings following the attack.

“There was a woman waiting outside for her husband and young child to finish praying; she came inside and found them dead next to each other,” Shetewy said.

He added that people are lined up at a local hospital to donate blood.

Since the attack, the Egyptian military has carried out multiple airstrikes on bases it says are used by ISIS militants in the restive North Sinai region.