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Sisi expected to win Egypt presidency

Egyptians are taking to polling stations at the end of this month to choose a new president, and former defence minister Abdel Fatah El Sisi is the current favourite.

CAIRO: Egyptians are taking to polling stations at the end of this month to choose a new president after the ousting of the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi last year.

As the country faces mounting violence from militant groups, the presidential candidates are doing their best to reassure the electorate that they are equal to the challenges of Egypt's political turmoil.

Since the first uprising three years ago, the Egyptian revolution has had many faces.

And since the toppling of former president Mohamed Morsi last summer, the population has been looking for a new poster boy.

Abdel Fatah El Sisi, the former defence minister, is the current favourite.

He has won over many hearts with his role in ousting Morsi and his hard-line Muslim Brotherhood against the plague of violence that has gripped Egypt over the last year.

Samy Abdallah is one fan. The 45-year-old taxi driver is struggling financially after growing security concerns forced him to cut down his working hours. He believes that Sisi is the strong military leader that Egypt needs to end three years of turmoil.

Abdallah said: "I'm going to vote for the man who really knows this country's rules. Not everyone does. We voted for Mohamed Morsi and he knew nothing so of course I'm going to vote for Sisi as a better choice."

But not everyone is convinced that Sisi is the better choice.

Growing numbers of young people are backing Hamdeen Sabahi, the leftist politician who was influential in the original revolution back in 2011.

Samah Zidan, a recent journalism graduate from Cairo University, joined the campaign for Sabahi because she believes he is the only candidate that represents real revolutionary change.

She said: "Hamdeen Sabahi has been defending the rights of workers for the past 40 years, therefore he is the one who believes most in the goals of the revolution: bread, freedom and social justice."

But there is a growing number of people who feel increasingly isolated from the political process -- many Muslim Brotherhood supporters think the elections are illegitimate and are boycotting them.

Ziad Akl, a political analyst, said: "There was always a powerful faction of the voters that belong to the Muslim Brotherhood. This faction today, we don't know whether it will vote Hamdeen Sabahi or against the whole idea of participating in elections".

Most citizens are holding out for a positive change.

With both candidates announcing their stance against the Muslim Brotherhood, it is likely that Egypt will continue to suffer political upheaval after the elections. But ordinary citizens are hoping that the new leader will herald in a new era of stability. 

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