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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Egypt: Abdel-Fattah El-Sissi officially runs for President, presidential campaign has started

Egypt's recently resigned Head of the Armed Forces and current
presidential candidate Abdel-Fattah El-Sissi
(Image: Reuters)
Amid the continuous unstable security and economical situation Egypt’s High Electoral Committee has announced the beginning of the presidential campaign to start since 30 March, as the potential candidates for the presidential position have the chance to register their candidacies in order to participate in the elections. Thus, official registration was announced opened, and the elections are set for 26-27 May. Egypt’s interim President Adly Mansour has declared earlier that the new President is expected to be announced before 17 July 2014.

Egyptian Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah El-Sissi is one of the strongest and most popular candidates for the position of Egypt’s President, widely supported by Egyptian society. He was appointed by Mohamed Morsi as a Defense Minister and Head of SCAF (Supreme Council of Armed Forces) in August 2012, succeeding Mohamed Hussein Tantawy. El-Sissi has got an unprecedented level of popularity after ouster of Islamist backed President Mohamed Morsi during the 30 June Revolution, and despite the deteriorating security situation and economic challenges Egypt has been facing during all this time, El-Sissi’s public ratings have been increasing.

After long time of speculations in media and society regarding the possibility of his running for the position of Egypt’s President, Abdel-Fattah El-Sissi has finally submitted his candidacy to the High Electoral Commission, ending the wave of rumors and responding the popular demand.

On Wednesday 26 March Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah El-Sissi has officially resigned from his position as a Defense Minister and Head of Egypt’s Armed Forces, as police and military officials and personnel aren’t allowed to run for the high official positions according to the state’s Constitution.

It’s worth mentioning, that SCAF has declared its total support of El-Sissi and has issued a statement on January 2014 empowering El-Sissi to run for President. Prominent Egyptian political figure Amr Moussa has been also talking about El-Sissi’s intentions to run for President and about his presidential campaign. He also stated that the main goal of El-Sissi’s program is development of the country’s economic and social conditions, restoring of security and achieving the goals of January 25 Revolution. Amr Moussa also stated that special team consisting form the prominent and known politicians and experts has been already formed in order to discuss the presidential platform of the former Head of the Armed Forces.
Supporters of General El-Sissi during the demonstration
(Image: The Guardian)

Thus, Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah El-Sissi has officially submitted his resignation from the position of Defense Minister during the meeting with the SCAF and interim President Adly Mansour. SCAF’s Chief of Staff Sedki Sobhy was appointed as a new Defense Minister and Head of Egypt’s Armed Forces, becoming El-Sissi’s successor.

Abdel-Fattah El-Sissi in his turn has delivered a speech declaring his resignation from the highest military position and intention to run for President on 26 March. He stated in his speech, broadcasted by the state TV, that he was serving Egypt’s military for over 45 years, but after leaving his military position he is willing to continue defending the country and serving its people.

“The latest years and development proved, that no one could be President of Egypt without people’s will,” El-Sissi declared during his official speech.

In addition to that El-Sissi declared that his running for President shouldn’t bar anybody else from participating in the presidential elections, and that he will welcome and support the one, who will be the winner. El-Sissi also emphasized that he doesn’t have a traditional presidential electoral campaign, but rather a vision of Egypt’s future and development, and stressed that he is determined to fight for the fearless Egypt, trying to resolve Egypt’s political, social, economic and security problems and challenges, which Egypt has faced after 25 January 2011 Revolution and 30 June 2013 uprising. He also called on the other candidates to avoid spending too much money on the presidential campaign.

Thus, Egypt’s presidential campaign has officially started in Egypt on 30 March, as the registration for the candidates was declared to be open. Egypt’s Nasserist politician and ex-presidential contender Hamdeen Sabbahi is also running for President and he could be considered being the main rival of El-Sissi.

General Abdel-Fattah El-Sissi and Egypt's interim President
Adly Mansour
(Image: The Middle East Monitor)
However, Islamists’ supporters and members of the Alliance of Support of Legitimacy have declared that they will probably boycott the upcoming presidential elections, as they see the current developments in the country as a continuation of the illegal policies and results of the coup attempted by the military heads in June 2013, ousting the legitimate President Mohamed Morsi. It’s worth mentioning that the members of Muslim Brotherhood, which is currently oppressed and persecuted in Egypt, its activities banned, ideology declared extremist, and the group is labeled as a terrorist organization, with hundreds of its members and prominent figures facing the trials, has been opposing all the developments of Egypt’s post-30 June politics, claiming it to be illegitimate. There is no official and final statement of the Alliance and Muslim Brotherhood’s supporters yet, and the decision will be taken and declared in the nearest future.

The situation in the country though remains extremely tense, with the continuous clashes and students’, trade unions’ and worker’s protests and significant deterioration of the economic and security situation, as the violent clashes continue during the protest. In addition to that, Egypt’s capital Cairo was hit by the three explosions occurred on the territory of Cairo University.