Sisi’s Hollowed State: Ten Years of Autocracy in Egypt

On April 3, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi will begin his third term as president of Egypt following a rushed presidential election marred by a campaign of arrests, ongoing repression, and the elimination of any meaningful competition. During his first ten years as president, el-Sisi ruled through brutal authoritarian trial-and-error that has left Egypt in a precarious economic and political state. Now, as the strongman begins his new term as president, the war on Gaza is also exacerbating the existing economic challenges and providing cover for further oppression and abuse of power.  

Join the Middle East Democracy Center’s (MEDC) Democracy Matters Initiative for an expert panel discussion to examine the aftermath of a decade of autocratic governance under el-Sisi and to discuss current developments and implications for human rights and democracy in Egypt and the wider MENA region.


Welcome Remarks:

  • Tess McEnery
    Executive Director, MEDC


  • Shana Marshall
    Associate Director of the Institute for Middle East Studies and Assistant Research Professor of International Affairs, George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs
  • Nancy Okail
    President and CEO, Center for International Policy
  • Hesham Sallam
    Senior Research Scholar and Associate Director for Research, Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law


  • Yasmin Omar
    Director of the Democracy Matters Initiative, MEDC


Additional Reading:

Hesham Sallam’s “The Autocrat-in-Training: The Sisi Regime at 10,” found in the January 2024 issue of the Journal of Democracy. 

About the Democracy Matters Initiative

The Middle East Democracy Center (MEDC) is thrilled to launch the Democracy Matters Initiative, MEDC’s visionary program dedicated to strengthening the foundations of democratic principles and values in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The initiative aims to build constituencies for democratic reform and human rights across the region through connecting pro-democracy actors across diverse sectors and countries to articulate visions for democratic progress, create shared strategies for reform, and develop clear and compelling public narratives for why democracy matters through research, policy, and bold advocacy.

About the Middle East Democracy Center

MEDC is a U.S.-based nonprofit and nonpartisan advocacy organization that works with the people of the Middle East and North Africa to challenge authoritarian systems and advocate for U.S. policies that protect human rights and advance a bold vision for democracy. MEDC was formed in 2024 from a merger of the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) and the Freedom Initiative.