Egypt's former President Mubarak (L) and current President Sisi (R)

Egypt's former President Hosni Mubarak walks free this week, after six years in detention.

The leader, who ruled Egypt for 30 years, was arrested in April 2011, two months after stepping down in the wake of a popular uprising. He was initially given a life sentence for his connection with the death of 239 demonstrators during the 18-day revolt. But he was acquitted earlier this month by the Court of Cassation, the country's highest court, and now he'll be a free man.

Yet, despite the popular movement that removed him from power, many Egyptians look back with nostalgia to the days before the 2011 revolution. With serious economic woes coupled with former military chief President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's oppressive crackdown on activists and journalists – which has been classified by some as worse than the Mubarak era – some feel they were better off before.

"Many Egyptians, wrongly or rightly, look at the Mubarak era nostalgically and lament that they didn't appreciate how good they had it," Timothy Kaldas, a non-resident fellow at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy, told StepFeed.

"After six years of political turmoil, security threats and economic hardship, much of the population see what came after his overthrow as decidedly worse than what preceded it," he said.

Could a Mubarak return to power?

Mubarak, at 88-years-old and having spent most of his detention in a military hospital, seems an unlikely candidate to return to the political spotlight. Although some may welcome him, he and his family are not legally allowed to hold office or any political position for six years.

Still, this hasn't stopped some from speculating and even accepting that his son Gamal might seek office, even as soon as 2018.

"So what if he [Gamal] runs for president? Isn't this what democracy is supposed to be about?" Khaled Abdel Naim, a high school teacher, told The Sydney Morning Herald.

"I was one of those voices wanting him to become president before his father stupidly did not want to step down," he said.

Some experts have pointed out that Gamal was a "de facto ruler" in the last few years of his father's government. In recent weeks, some have also noted an uptick in public appearances by Gamal, leading to speculation he may have an interest in returning to the political arena.

Gamal and his twin brother Alaa were themselves tried for embezzling millions of dollars of state funds and for insider trading, although they were later released. The money was used to renovate their own personal palaces. In total, they were accused of stealing about $187 million.

Alaa also made an appearance in the infamous Panama Papers for his offshore accounts. Both brothers have amassed fortunes through buying and selling Egyptian debt via offshore accounts. All of these factors have led many to view them as prime examples of the country's endemic corruption.

Nonetheless, nostalgia appears to overlook a lot of shortcomings for some.

And what about Sisi?

Legal barriers aside, despite Sisi's and the military's softness and former support of Mubarak, it's unlikely the new government would take kindly to the family returning to politics in the near future.

"There’s nothing to indicate that Sisi is preparing to step aside for anyone at the moment. I certainly don’t believe he’d quietly acquiesce if a Mubarak sought to replace him as president," Kaldas said.

Kaldas also said it seems clear that Egypt's military wants to take a "more direct role" in leading the country through Sisi. "It’s widely believed that they took issue with how much access and power business elites attained through the former president’s son, Gamal," he said.

Even if there were an interest in replacing Sisi, which it doesn't appear there is, "a Mubarak would not be their preferred choice," Kaldas said.

Egypt is struggling, but there's still optimism

In November, Egypt floated its currency, which was formerly pegged to the dollar. The value of the Egyptian pound was roughly cut in half, sending shockwaves through the Egyptian economy and crippling consumers' spending power.

Rapid inflation also ensued, surpassing 30 percent in January. Food and drink prices have increased nearly 40 percent. Some meat prices have even increased as much as 50 percent. Transportation and education costs are also rising and Egyptians are forced to make cuts and changes.

Egypt wanted to secure a $12 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund. Through subsidy cuts, floating the pound and other economic changes, the government was able to secure the loan. 

While things look bad for Egyptians now, the IMF, the government and other economic experts expect the inflation to ease later this year. Tourism, a large part of Egypt's economy, is also on the rise and experts have even suggested the number of visitors could return to pre-2011 levels.

If Sisi's economic reforms pay off by the end of the year, and Egyptians start feeling the benefits, it may not really matter who runs against him in 2018. Of course, as his government has already shown itself more than willing to stomp out political opposition, it may not have really mattered in the first place.