Police secure a road during presidential elections in Cairo, May 2014.
Mohamed Abd El Ghany / Courtesy Reuters

A year after Egypt's military deposed President Mohamed Morsi, a new regime is finally starting to take shape. At its head is the retired field marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the commander who toppled Morsi last year on July 3. He was elected president by 97 percent of the vote in a May election, which, although most likely technically clean, hardly constituted a real contest. After all, the most effective opposition movements had already been crushed.

In various speeches and interviews, Sisi has described his mission as repairing an economy devastated by three years of turmoil, preventing Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood from regrouping, and “restoring the prestige of the Egyptian state. The last phrase is key. Media and officials have used it repeatedly since 2011 to bemoan popular defiance of authority: activist protests that closed down Cairo for days at a time, labor unrest, attacks on police stations, and street vendors encroaching on government property.

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  • STEVE NEGUS is a Cairo-based journalist. He was Iraq correspondent for The Financial Times in 2004–08.
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