Abdul-Fattah Sisi, the influential general who led the ouster of Morsi, resigned as defense minister in March 2014 and announced his intention to run for president in the upcoming election.
Voter turnout in May 2014"s presidential election was so low that officials added a third day of voting and declared the added day a state holiday. Sisi won the election in a landslide, taking 95% of the vote, but the turnout, about 47%, suggested that Sisi did not have the overwhelming support he had claimed and was widely reported. This may make it difficult for Sisi to implement economic reforms that are needed to boost the country"s dire financial situation. In the 2012 presidential election, 52% of voters cast ballots. Observers feared that under Sisi, a military strongman, Egypt would revert to an autocracy as seen in the Mubarak era.
In June 2014, an Egyptian court convicted three Al Jazeera English journalists of aiding the Muslim Brotherhood and spreading false news during their coverage of the protests that followed the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013. Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy, and Baher Mohamed were arrested in December 2013. Greste and Fahmy were sentenced to seven years in prison, and Baher Mohamed received a 10-year sentence. The extra years were for possessing ammunition, which amounted to one bullet from the protests he kept as a keepsake. The prosecution did not present any evidence against the journalists, and the verdict prompted international condemnation. The White House issued a statement saying the ruling "flouts the most basic standards of media freedom and represents a blow to democratic progress in Egypt." The ruling sent a clear message to journalists and the public that the Sisi government would likely continue to crack down on freedom of the press and would not tolerate dissent.