Top News: Egypt’s Sisi Bids Military Farewell, says He Will Run for Presidency

Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi resigned from the military on Wednesday and announced that he was determined to run in Egypt’s upcoming presidential elections, slated to begin March 30.


Egypt’s Sisi bids military farewell, says he will run for presidency
Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi resigned from the military on Wednesday and announced that he was determined to run in Egypt’s upcoming presidential elections, slated to begin March 30. “My determination to run in the election does not bar others from their right to run. I will be happy if whoever the people choose succeeds,” he said in a televised speech, adding that he hopes for “a nation for all without exclusion.” Any Egyptian who has not been convicted by the law, Sisi said, is unconditionally welcomed to be an active partner in the future of Egypt. He said that he does not intend to “have a traditional campaign but rather a comprehensive vision for the nation to rise,” and called on his supporters not “to spend a lot” for his campaign. Dressed in military fatigues, Sisi said, “True, today is my last day in military uniform, but I will continue to fight every day for an Egypt free of fear and terrorism.” [Ahram Online, DNE, Egypt Independent, AP, Mada Masr, Reuters, 3/26/2014]

Political powers react to Sisi’s candidacy
News of former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s resignation and presidential bid on Wednesday were met with varied reactions. Nasserist politician Hamdeen Sabbahi said he welcomes the presidential candidacy of former army chief Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi. “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,” Sabbahi wrote on Twitter. According to CNN Arabic, Secretary General of the Nour Party said that Sisi is an honest Egyptian citizen and has the right to run for the presidency. The Tamarod movement stressed their support for the former field marshal and his candidacy. Gamal Akbi, treasurer of the state-backed Egyptian Federation for Trade Unions (EFTU), said on Thursday that Egypt’s workers will back Sisi in his presidential run. Head of the Jama’a al-Islamiya’s Building and Development Islamist Party Tarek al-Zomor said that the resignation is a cover up for what he called “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. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, Mada Masr, Aswat Masriya (Arabic), 3/27/2014]

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Court to hear new evidence on Adly, Nazif profiteering case
Upon receiving new evidence, the South Cairo Criminal Court ruled Wednesday to give the prosecution another stand at court on April 28 against former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly and former Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif, who have been accused of profiteering from an illegal licence plate deal. The prosecution introduced previously undisclosed evidence, so the court ordered the defense to review the new information, according to state-owned news agency MENA. The defendants were charged with “squandering public funds and profiteering.” [DNE, Egypt Independent, 3/26/2014]

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Egypt’s 2014 energy deficit originally expected for 2022
The volume of the current energy deficit in Egypt was expected to occur in 2022, said Anhar Hegazy, head of the energy efficiency department in the state-owned Information and Decision Support Centre (IDSC). According to Hegazy, the deficit in energy began in 2007 and by 2022 energy usage is expected to be reduced by 10 percent. [DNE, 3/26/2014]

Egypt army extends power by taking charge of Gulf aid
Egypt’s army is taking charge of billions of dollars of development aid from the United Arab Emirates, an army official said, raising further doubts over the narrow separation of powers with the military backed administration in place since July. Major General Taher Abdullah, who heads the Engineering Authority of the Armed Forces, said when UAE officials discussed projects shortly after Mohamed Morsi’s ouster, it was with the army. The army’s role in building construction became public earlier this month when UAE government-linked Dubai firm Arabtec’s announced it had inked a $40 billion deal with the military to build one million homes in Egypt. [Reuters, 3/27/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Factories in the dark | Mada Masr
  • Director of Russian investment fund: We are eager to intensify our investment in Egypt | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)
  • EGP value rises after Sisi’s candidacy announced | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)


Protester killed, thirty injured in Wednesday university clashes
Student unrest erupted on campuses across Egypt yesterday leaving one protester dead with demonstrations continuing today. According to Mada Masr, members of the pro-Brotherhood group Students Against the Coup (SAC) marched violently through Zagazig University before attacking the administration building. Police later used birdshot to disperse the demonstration. On Thursday students at Alexandria University supporting the Muslim Brotherhood protested the presidential candidacy of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Al-Masry Al-Youm reported that security forces used tear gas to disperse students demonstrating near the defense ministry against the government on Thursday.  [Mada Masr, Aswat Masriya 3/26/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Police vow to arrest Alexandria-based atheists | Mada Masr
  • April Six calls on citizens to participate in free Egypt campaign | Shorouk
  • Joint initiative aims to save Egyptian children from exploitation in illegal immigration | DNE


Mortar shells, heavy weapons, and sacks of TNT seized in Port Said
Egyptian security forces seized a stockpile of heavy weapons in Port Said hidden on agricultural land near a police department. The stockpile included five mortar shells, guns, and sacks of TNT. According to security officials the weapons were going to be used in terrorist attacks in the future.  [EGYNews (Arabic) 3/27/2014]

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Secretary Kerry deeply troubled by Egypt death sentences
US Secretary of State John Kerry urged Egypt Wednesday to overturn a court decision sentencing 529 supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi to death, warning it sent a “negative message” around the world. “I am deeply, deeply troubled by the sudden and unprecedented decision by an Egyptian court to issue preliminary death sentences for 529 citizens after a quick mass trial,” Kerry said in a statement, issued while he was on a surprise trip to Jordan. He added, “I urge the interim Egyptian government to reverse the court ruling and ensure due process for the accused. Anything less would dishonor the bravery of all who sacrificed their lives for democratic values.” [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, 3/27/2014