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UPDATE: Al-Sisi interview part of ‘systematic media campaign’ to promote ‘candidate of the State’: Analyst - Daily News Egypt

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UPDATE: Al-Sisi interview part of ‘systematic media campaign’ to promote ‘candidate of the State’: Analyst

Irresponsible protests will lead to the collapse of the state, says Al-Sisi

Former Defence Minsiter Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi was interviewed on television for the first time after running for the presidential elections (AFP PHOTO/STR )
Former Defence Minsiter Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi was interviewed on television for the first time after running for the presidential elections

Presidential candidate Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s first televised interview on Monday night served as part of a “systematic media campaign” to promote “the candidate of the Egyptian State,” according to Al Ahram Strategic Center’s Ziad Akl.

“Al-Sisi represents the State’s institutions, whose only agenda for the time being is to eliminate the institutional aspect of the Muslim Brotherhood; his statements about the Brotherhood were to convey a message to them,” said Akl, a political analyst at the centre.

Akl added that Al-Sisi supporters have been made to believe, through a systematic media campaign since July, that Al-Sisi, who is part of the Armed Forces institution, is the only solution for the “threat of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

According to Akl, the jurisdictions of the institutions of the Egyptian state have inflated through the years. Aql elaborated that if there was a plan and political will to reform the state’s institutions, there would be hope for Egypt’s development.

A UK specialist on Arab Affairs, Dr H.A. Hellyer commented on the interview saying, “[he] expected more details from Al-Sisi’s first proper interview.” Hellyer criticised the interviewers of Al-Sisi, “despite the fact that the interviewers are well known media characters with experience of interviewing, they had a pretty easy attitude. It was basically up to Al-Sisi to share information or not.”

He added that Al-Sisi consumed significant time focusing on dialogues with ousted President Mohamed Morsi, “who is not available for comment, which leaves no space for discussion.”

Generally, Hellyer described the interview as “vague” and “less interesting to the people”, as he elaborated, “the interview would be unlikely to sway voters’ opinions, because everybody knows he is going to win. It could have been more interesting if he had focused more on his plans for the future, as no one is interested in the past as long as it is not related to the future.”

The interview was the first of a two-episode interview aired jointly between privately-owned satellite channels CBC and ONtv.

The interviewers asked the former Field Marshal about his life growing up, family and background, as well as his platform and vision for the future.

Al-Sisi denied that he had consulted any groups inside or outside Egypt in running for the presidency, and had only notified the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) of his decision.

When asked whether he was the armed forces candidate, Al-Sisi interrupted his interviewer, 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”.

“A’askar” is the Arabic word for “military”, however, it has a negative connotations for its informality and use by Egyptians when referring to the British occupation force. Post-2011 protesters have used this word to denounce what they have described as military rule under the leadership of SCAF.

When the presidential candidate was questioned regarding the newly proposed Terrorism Law,  he said he is willing to do “whatever it takes to restore security”.

Al-Sisi said that all the ministries in the cabinet called for the formation of the Protest Law. “Irresponsible protests will lead to the collapse of the state,” he said, and refused to answer a question on whether he was willing to grant amnesty to Protest Law detainees, if elected.

Al-Sisi claimed that he had warned the former president against granting amnesty to former militant elements. He also claimed that he was threatened by a prominent figure of the Muslim Brotherhood that “fighters would come to Egypt from different parts of the world” in the case that Morsi was ousted.

Al-Sisi announced that voting for him means that “there will be no place for the Muslim Brotherhood during his presidency”.

Al-Sisi stated that “the situation in Sinai” has lasted as long as it did “for the sake of the Sinai residents” and “if it were not for them [the Sinai residents],” the military would have quelled the wave of insurgency earlier. He added that any citizen “should be comforted as long as the Egyptian army still exists”.

Al-Sisi said that he will use the expertise of Egyptian and international experts in the formulation of his presidential platform, including former NASA Scientist Dr Farouk Al-Baz. The presidential candidate added that he is willing to execute Al-Baz’s project, the Path of Development and Reconstruction, among others.

The second and final part of the interview will resume on Tuesday night.

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  • Reda Sobky

    He is my candidate and I am not the Egyptian state. The masses are for Sisi, the elites are for Sisi, the army and the police are for Sisi, the women are for Sisi, the minorities are for Sisi what is your problem with Sisi? If he is the choice of the real majority it is because they like his leadership and they respect what he has already shown and done. The program he presents cannot be specific as all election platforms in democratic systems are reworked anyway when the candidate wins as platform ideals meet the test of feasibility and reality. it just feels like inflated arguments designed to delegitimize his candidacy and cast doubts as to his popular support,

    • Bittertruth

      We must believe Sisi when he said he will do anything even if it means he should massacre thousands more and arrest tens of thousands more. This man is immature and delusional. Egypt is doomed with this dictator at the helm. Just recently he bragged he could invade Algeria in three days in a statement which is despicable and undermined the pride of Alegrians and their government . Invading Algeria is not as easy as invading Sudan and take Halayb. As far as I know Algeria’s army is among the battle tested and brave unlike Egyptian army who is skilled in killing only innocent and unarmed Egyptians. We will see what he will do with the armed Egyptians who are fighting Sisi’s dictatorship called Free Egyptian Army, a formidable force to deal with.

      • Reda Sobky

        Why do you hate Egypt and Egyptians so much, you must be from Qatar.

        • Intellectualist

          It’s not “the” truth, it’s the “bittertruth” afterall.

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  • Intellectualist

    He is the candidate of A state. It is the state of enlightenment. He has been gifted with a voice in his head that will steer him toward a divine ideal. It is the caliphate of the intellectual meritocracy. The ruler of deities and the power to overcome all earthly obstacles. One by one your leaders will coalesce in the universal compact we all share. Keep your ears open Al Sisi. Guidance comes from all places and represents itself in a halo of warmth in your heart. As you give, you will receive.

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  • Al Masry

    It will be great if both candidates be at the helm as president and/or vice president. Mr. Sisi willingness to seek technocrats and dismantle BH of Kazabeens are good enough reasons for me to vote for him.

    • Reda Sobky

      Agree totally.

  • Al Masry

    We need each candidate to affirm his platform and his vision. Not to get in details about how many megawatts, or what first Arab country he will visit, etc. I am greatly disappointed about both interviewers for their narrow vision and interrupting each other. The future president will not have absolute power.

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  • Bittertruth

    Yeah right point finger to Qatar or Turkey or Israel when things go wrong in Egypt. Afterall you created these mountain of problems and you have to deal with it. Egypt is now on life support from authoritarian regime from ME who themselves are well known dictators. Face it. It is truth.

    • Intellectualist

      Dictators that see the writing on the wall and want to obviously create a better working model for their own societies that are next. I applaud them for being forward thinking in helping Egypt. A stable democracy to emulate makes their transition a lot less painful.

  • Hamad

    All Egyptians want is a “strong” leader who will them he loves them and that Egypt is a glorious country, even if he is a complete dummy with no idea how to run a country, like this Sisi fellow.

    • Intellectualist

      That would make the people dummies, not Sisi.

  • Nihal El-Sayed

    The article states that Egyptians are “made to believe” that Al-Sisi is the only solution for the “threat of Muslim Brotherhood.” Correct me if I am wrong, but there are only two candidates in the upcoming presidential election, and the other one is a dud who probably will become best friends with the Muslim Brotherhood. So, by definition (and rules of elimination) Al-Sisi “IS” the only solution to the threat of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the writer of this article looks like an idiot for criticizing his media campaign that way.

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