Reactions to Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s Presidential Bid

In a speech delivered on national TV on Wednesday evening, former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced his candidacy, in a speech which focused mainly on the topics of security, the fight against terror and stability. News of his resignation as defense minister, and of his presidential bid, were met with varied reactions in Egypt, whether on the streets, or within the political sphere.

Nasserist politician Hamdeen Sabbahi welcomed Sisi’s announcement, saying on Twitter: “I welcome Mr. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s candidacy and we seek democratic, fair and transparent elections that guarantee the neutrality of state and people’s right to choose their president freely,”

According to CNN Arabic, Secretary General of the Nour Party Gala Mura described Sisi as an honorable Egyptian citizen who has the right to run for the presidency.

The Tamarod movement reiterated its support for Sisi’s candidacy.

Gamal Akbi, treasurer of the state-backed Egyptian Federation for Trade Unions (EFTU), said on Thursday that Egypt’s workers support Sisi’s presidential run.

Ahmed Fawzy, of Social Democratic Party, told Mada Masr “Sisi is an Egyptian citizen and has the right to declare his candidacy.” He added however, that Sisi is “10 steps ahead of the rest,” in reference to his position compared to other candidates.

The Conference Party published a statement earlier on Thursday saying that, “the field marshal’s speech was transparent and he spoke frankly about the country’s current conditions and the tough circumstances it is going through.”  

The Dostour Party said “Sisi has the right to enter the race as civilian citizen after resigning from his military position.” Party leader Hala Shukrallah added, “We demand him [Sisi] to be like other candidates not backed by the country’s institution.”

Head of the Jama’a al-Islamiya’s Building and Development Party Tarek al-Zomor said that the resignation is a cover up for what he said is “a coup.”

The Strong Egypt Party, headed by Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, criticized Sisi’s decision, saying that it represents a serious danger to the future of democracy in Egypt.

London-based Muslim Brotherhood leader Ibrahim Muni told Al Arabiya News “There will be no stability or security if Sisi wins elections.”

The Muslim Brotherhood has yet to issue an official statement, but it’s official English language Twitter account criticized Sisi’s role in the removal of Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi:

The Freedom and Justice Party’s Azza al Garf said “We only recognized one legitimate elected president, Mohamed Morsi.”  

Reactions on the street have also varied. Al-Azhar Students have taken to the street on Thursday in protest against Sisi’s announcement. The pro-Morsi group, the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy, also called for protests against Sisi’s presidential bid, which it described as a coup.

Egyptian daily Youm7 published a series of videos interviewing Egyptians on the street, many of whom welcomed the decision. 

Image: Photo: Egypt Armed Forces