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Egypt's President Al-Sissi starts his third 6-year term in office

His critics blame him for the deteriorating economic situation and lack of freedoms.

Abdel Fattah al-Sissi has been the president of Egypt since 2014 [2CC]

Al-Sissi, who has been in power since 2014, secured another six years in office after receiving about 90% of the vote in a December election.

The election was overshadowed by the war in Gaza and a severe domestic economic crisis.

Addressing parliament in a televised address, Al-Sissi said Egypt in recent years faced challenges of unmatched magnitude and intensity throughout its modern history.

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He said the challenges were due to internal destabilising attempts, global crises, and fierce international and regional wars.

The president vowed to continue reforms and give a priority to "protecting Egypt's national security amid a turbulent regional and international environment."

The new administrative capital, launched in 2015, is the flagship construction scheme in a string of mega-projects undertaken by al-Sissi. Many have blamed such projects for the economic crisis that hit Egypt in the past two years.

In 2013, the army led by al-Sissi deposed Mohammed Morsi, Egypt's democratically elected but divisive Islamist president. The general-turned-president's backers see him as a guarantor of stability amid regional turmoil. His critics blame him for the deteriorating economic situation and lack of freedoms.

Since he came to power, thousands of secular activists and Islamists have been imprisoned or forced into exile, and the media scene has been mostly controlled by his loyalists. In recent months, the government released dozens of detained dissidents.

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