British Prime Minister Theresa May has raised more than a few eyebrows with her message of congratulations to Egypt’s Abdel Fattah el-Sisi after his victory in the country’s controversial presidential election last month.
May sent a statement praising the Egyptian leader on Wednesday, in which she said the UK was looking forward to developing better relations with his government.
“[May] congratulated President Sisi on the chance to take Egypt further along the path of democratic transition,” a spokesperson for May said, adding that “[Sisi’s] public commitment to respecting Egyptian presidential term limits sent an important and powerful signal about his vision for the country’s future.”
The comments have earned the British leader an angry response, with journalists, activists and politicians aiming criticism in her direction.
“Just a reminder, President Sisi of Egypt came to power over the dead bodies of at least 817 protesters gunned down in the streets of Cairo,” said British political writer Alex Nunns referring to the killing of anti-coup protesters in 2013, shortly after Sisi had deposed former president, Mohamed Morsi.
Theresa May has just congratulated military dictator President Sisi on his re-election and the chance to take #Egypt “further down the road of democratic transition”. #Sisi ‘won’ 97.08% of the vote, after all viable opponents were arrested, barred or forced to withdraw. pic.twitter.com/uiFNtiai5E
— Jack Shenker (@hackneylad) April 5, 2018
“I look forward to the pan-media outrage at Theresa May congratulating him on his sham re-election with 97 percent of the vote,” he said.
Sisi won 97 percent of votes in March’s election after all serious contenders for the presidency were forced to step aside on threat of legal cases.
Mostafa Mousa, Sisi’s only opponent, was a long-time supporter of the Egyptian president and only filed his candidacy hours before the deadline for registering was set to close.
He denied he was only running to give the election a pretence of competition.