Top News: Abdel Fattah al-Sisi Gives First Ever TV Interview

The privately owned TV stations CBC and ONTV aired the first half of a pre-recorded interview with presidential hopeful Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi on Monday evening. When asked whether he was the armed forces candidate, Sisi interrupted, saying: “I will not tolerate your usage of the word a’askar [military] again.”

Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi gives first ever TV interview
The privately owned TV stations CBC and ONTV aired the first half of a pre-recorded interview with presidential hopeful Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi on Monday evening. When asked whether he was the armed forces candidate, Sisi interrupted, saying: “I will not tolerate your usage of the word a’askar [military] again.” He added that he was not the presidential candidate of the military, since “the armed forces have never ruled Egypt.” He also said that voting for him means that “there will be no place for the Muslim Brotherhood during his presidency. He added, “It is not me that finished (the Brotherhood). You, the Egyptians, are the ones who finished it.” Asked whether the Brotherhood would cease to exist during his presidency, Sisi answered: “Yes. That’s right.” Sisi accused the Brotherhood of links to violent militant groups, adding that two plots to assassinate him had been uncovered. Sisi claimed Brotherhood leader Khairat al-Shater “threatened on 23 June, 2013 that fighters from Libya, Syria and Afghanistan will enter the country if anything happens to Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.” Shater’s family denied these claims. During the interview, Sisi expressed support for the protest law and skirted a question on whether he would heed calls by some for pardoning January 25 activists jailed for breaking the law saying: We will make that call when we cross that bridge.” He also said that he decided to run for president when he detected an effort to “destroy the state” forcing him to heed the calls of the people. Watch the full interview here. [Ahram Online, DNE, Reuters, Mada Masr, 5/5/2014]

Sabbahi vows to defend public sector at rally in Mahalla
Nasserist presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi attended on Monday evening a mass election rally in the central Delta city of Mahalla, the textile capital of Egypt and one of the oldest hubs of workers’ militancy in the country. He vowed to fulfill the revolution’s goals by developing the public sector, fighting for the rights of the martyrs’ families and ending corruption. To cheers from supporters in a city where residents are struggling to hold on to public sector jobs in a troubled textile industry, Sabbahi vowed to boost investment in the public sector, which has been heavily privatized in the last twenty years. On Tuesday, the Free Egypt Party, founded by Amr Hamzawy, announced its decision to support Sabbahi in the upcoming presidential elections. [Ahram Online, 5/6/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Nour Party, prosecutor general discuss “wrongly accused” detainees | DNE
  • National Human Rights Council and Interior Ministry form permanent committee to resolve citizen complaints | EGYNews, AMAY (Arabic)


Cairo court bans former NDP members from running in elections
An Egyptian court on Tuesday banned the leaders of former president Hosni Mubarak’s National Democratic Party from running in any coming elections, the court judge said. Judge Karim Hazem did not specify the number, names or titles of the politicians who would be prevented from running in coming elections. Mubarak’s party was dissolved three years ago following an uprising that ended his rule. The case was brought to court a few months ago by an Egyptian lawyer. Judicial sources said the judge was unable to name the officials that the ruling would be applied to and left that to the elections committee to do that. Liberal politicians fear many Mubarak-era politicians could return due to the weakness of the current political parties, most of which were formed in the three years since Mubarak was removed from office. [Ahram Online, DNE, Reuters, Aswat Masriya, AP, Egypt Independent, Mada Masr, 5/6/2014]

Egypt investigates world leaders for espionage
Egypt’s Prosecutor-General Hisham Barakat has ordered an investigation into US President Barack Obama and other world leaders over spying allegations. The complaint was made by lawyer Ahmed Abdel-Salam against Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Abdel-Salam referred to reports from several Egyptian media outlets stating that Egypt’s General Intelligence apparatus had arrested two spy rings accused of sending reports about Egypt to foreign intelligence agencies during the country’s 2012 presidential elections. Abdel-Salam also called on Egypt to cut its relations with these countries and put on trial any Egyptian citizen who cooperates with them or provides them with information, in accordance with article 82 of the Egyptian penal code. He also called for an end to all cooperation between the Egyptian army and these countries, as well as a ban on their ships passing through the Suez Canal. [Ahram Online, 5/5/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Nile University to take back land | DNE
  • Forty-one Brotherhood members in Sharqiya referred to criminal court | AMAY (Arabic)
  • Revolution anniversary’s Downtown detainees released, Dokki detainees’ trial postponed | DNE
  • Morsi espionage trial resumes | Egypt Independent
  • Badie trial postponed to May 18 | DNE
  • Mubarak trial postponed to May 10 | DNE


Egypt government justifies import of coal to fend off 2018 gas production crisis
The interim government agreed cement companies could import coal in order to avoid a gas production crisis in 2018. The Ministry of Petroleum expects the natural gas deficit to become worse, hitting 2.4 billion cubic feet per day during the 2017/2018 fiscal year, not including the needs of new power plants, which are estimated at 1.2 billion cubic feet. [DNE, 5/6/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Egypt’s market down as Egyptians net sellers | Ahram Online
  • Egypt likely to postpone gas price rises – official | Aswat Masriya
  • New metro line opening delayed and ‘no one knows why’ | Mada Masr
  • Israel to supply natural gas Egypt | Bloomberg
  • Egypt likely to postpone gas price rises | Aswat Masriya
  • Mahlab meets with World Bank delegation to boost cooperation | Cairo Post
  • Egyptian tourism official: Criteria for coal use to be announced in May | DNE, DNE


Pro-Sisi rally attacked in Egypt’s Nile Delta
Unknown assailants attacked an open-air campaign rally on Monday organized by supporters of presidential candidate Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi in the Damietta governorate. According to Al-Ahram, three were injured when the canopies hosting the conference caught fire after assailants threw Molotov cocktails before the event started in the town of Kafr Saad. The fire was controlled and security forces arrived to secure the tents. The rally, the first since candidates were given a green light to start campaigning last Saturday, came just hours before Sisi gave his first-ever televised interview. The pro-Sisi event was planned to take place on Monday evening. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, 5/5/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Health ministry denies any MERS fatalities in Egypt | Ahram Online, Egypt Independent
  • Al-Azhar student dies from gunshot wounds | Ahram Online
  • Mother of woman accused of exploiting street children defends daughter | Mada Masr
  • Students at Fayoum University protest over water shortages | Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Students rally at Alexandria University demanding release of colleagues | AMAY (Arabic)
  • Dozens of carpet factory workers block road in Mahalla over non-payment of arrears | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)


Interior Ministry: Terrorist cell arrested in connection to burning public property
The Interior Ministry announced on Tuesday that its criminal investigators working in coordination with security forces in Damietta ambushed a ‘terrorist cell’ consisting of four students belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood. Members of the cell are accused of targeting and burning public and private property including six privately owned cars. The group was arrested as they were trying to burn three transformers and a police center in Mahalla.  [AMAY (Arabic), 5/6/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Airport security foils effort by Palestinians to smuggle seventeen espionage devices | EGYNews
  • Military aircraft sent to look for five missing citizens in Aswan | DNE
  • Surveillance cameras in the streets to monitor terrorist attacks | Egypt Independent


FM Fahmy calls on the United States to end contact with the Brotherhood
Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy called on the United States not to communicate with the Muslim Brotherhood after the Egyptian government designated it “a terrorist organization.” Interviewed by Abu Dhabi-based Sky News Arabia on Tuesday, Fahmy pointed out that relations with Washington have improved. He viewed Washington’s contact with the Brotherhood inappropriate considering the group’s terrorist designation in Egypt, as his government does not deal with any terrorist organizations in other countries, asserting that law should be respected. [Ahram Online, SIS, 5/6/2014]

EU observer mission in Egypt launched ahead of presidential poll
The European Union announced the launching of its observation mission in Egypt on Monday. The mission is led by Chief Observer Mario David, a Portuguese member of the European Parliament, according to a press release. Ten analysts working with the mission arrived to Cairo in mid-April, while thirty observers arrived two weeks ago. An additional sixty “short-term observers” are scheduled to be deployed throughout Egypt on May 26 and 27, when polling stations will open. The mission will consist of approximately 150 observers from all twenty-eight EU member states, Canada and Norway, announced the EU. [DNE, Mada Masr, 5/5/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Egyptian national killed in a shootout with militia forces in Libya | DNE
  • Preparations for high-level Egypt-Palestine talks underway | DNE