Freedoms should not ‘harm the state’: Al-Sisi

AbdelHalim H. AbdAllah
4 Min Read
Former Defence Minister Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi was interviewed on Sky News Arabia about his presidential candidacy on Sunday (Photo Screen grab from Sky News Arabia)
Former Defence Minister Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi was interviewed on Sky News Arabia about his presidential candidacy on Sunday
(Photo Screen grab from Sky News Arabia)

Presidential candidate Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi during an interview with Sky News Arabia on Sunday said while he is convinced of the importance of freedom, he is concerned that “freedoms should not lead to chaos that would harm the state.”

Al-Sisi told Syrian talk-show presenter Zeina Yazgy that he seeks to establish “safety, security, stability and real development.”

 Personal security has decreased in the past three years, because of “terrorism” and criminal activity, he said.

Al-Sisi defended the controversial Protest Law, under which thousands of Egyptians have been jailed, asserting that protesting needs to be regulated – but not banned. He said there is a “need to give police space to work”.

“The state of revolution has caused turbulence in the [political] scene and it has led to a decrease in the efficiency of the performance of state institutions,” he said.

Al-Sisi acknowledged that the government struggles with corruption, which he said is linked to unfulfilled needs. He proposed satisfying the people’s need and then “we [will be] capable of fighting corruption.”

Al-Sisi pledged that, with the help of the Egyptian people, he would improve economic conditions in Egypt. However, he said, “The Egyptian people need to understand the reality of the situation.”

 To avoid a “third revolution”, Al-Sisi said there “should be a line between the demands of the people and what is possible.” He called on both the state and citizens to ration subsidies and regulate expenditure.

He defended the military’s role in unseating Mohamed Morsi 3 July following popular protests. It was a “patriotic move”, he said, that prevented struggle among the Egyptian people. The former minister of defence said he is willing to step down if the Egyptian people asked him without military interference.

Now, the presidential candidate said he is racing to save Egypt and Islam from the Muslim Brotherhood, which he believes has turned a political conflict into a religious conflict. Al-Sisi vowed to provide an Islamic religious speech that is “worthy of Egyptian Muslims”.

“We [Muslim countries] have wasted the humanity of Islam,” he said.

The Abu Dhabi based Sky News Arabia is a joint venture between UK-based BSkyB and Abu Dhabi Media Investment Corporation.

After the interview, Al-Sisi met with a group of Egyptian writers and novelists on Monday to listen to their insights, and to acknowledge their role in forming the Egyptian consciousness.

In Sharqeya Governorate, his campaign filed a complaint Monday alleging that a fire had been set in its headquarters in Minya Al-Qamh. The blaze burnt the main door and singing banners and posters on the building’s exterior before residents put the flames out.

On Sunday, Al-Sisi’s opponent, Hamdeen Sabahy, held a conference in Damanhour, where he spoke about his presidential platform.  “We will build a state of justice – a state where segregation is incriminated, a state without corruption, poverty, fear from terrorism, or state obstinacy,” he said. President of Al-Dostour Party Hala Shukr Allah attended the conference.

Sabahy’s campaign also released a video Sunday that includes a message by Sabahy to Egyptians living abroad where he vowed to create a ministry to secure their rights politically, legally, and culturally.

Sabahy held an online video conference with Egyptians living abroad on Monday just days before they start voting as scheduled from 15 to 18 May.

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