The public campaign to support President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi winning a second term has intensified its hard work and activities of organizing conferences and events for the upcoming election in March 2018.
The Egyptian Trade Union Federation (ETUF) organized a rally on Tuesday presented by several labor and political leaders to discuss Sisi’s achievements since he took office in June 2014. A detailed documentary was presented during the conference.
Most of those attending the rally chanted slogans showing their support for Sisi, saying, “We love you, Sisi” and raising pictures of the president.
“Alashan Tbneeha” (To Build It), a public campaign calling for President Sisi to run for a second term as the head of state, held its first conference in September 2017, three months before Sisi’s official announcement to run for president.
During its third press conference in December, it announced the total number of signatures and petitions collected to support Sisi. “The campaign collected 12,132,460 valid signatures, while a total of 239,361 signed forms were null and void,” announced one of the campaign’s founders, Mohamed al-Garhy.
“The campaign’s goal is to secure and protect our homeland, so it demands that Sisi runs in the upcoming presidential elections for a second term,” read the first press statement released by the “To Build It” campaign.
On Monday, January 26, Sisi’s official campaign held its first press conference to explain the electoral platform. They announced that more than 900,000 Egyptians signed endorsement forms for incumbent Sisi to run for a second term as Egypt’s president.
Several issues were tackled by the campaign’s spokesperson, Mohamed Bahaa el-Din Abu Shoka, during his speech on January 29, including the number of the endorsement forms collected, the campaign’s criteria and rules for its members and volunteers, their final configuration, Sisi’s electoral program, and their preparations should Sisi be the only candidate during the elections.
“There is no place in the world where you can blame a candidate for the lack of competition. Every president in the world, not just Egypt, has the right according to the law to run for a second term and complete his vision for the country; there is nothing wrong or illegal about that,” Abu Shoka said.
He added that it is the other political parties’ fault that they cannot compete during the election. “We hoped to have real competition; however, until now, we have only one official competitor: Chairperson of El Ghad Party Moussa Mostafa Moussa,” Abu Shoka added, explaining that even if Sisi were the only candidate, the election would continue as it is, in accordance with Article 36 of the law.
“We witnessed a lot of pre-emptive attacks on the presidential election before, including the 2014 presidential election; however, the final results prove every time that our procedures are always transparent and fair for all parties,” Sisi’s campaign spokesperson said in his speech. He added that one of the campaign’s main principles is to “respect the competitors,” regardless of who they are.
Abu Shoka also spoke about the campaigns’ members and board, affirming that the final formation of committees is not complete. He said that it is set to soon be announced in an official statement.
“On January 24, I headed to the National Election Authority (NEA) with all the needed documents and about 173,000 citizens’ endorsement forms, as well as 549 MPs’ petitions for Sisi, asking for Sisi’s recognition as an official candidate for the upcoming presidential election. Until now, he is not an official candidate, but he will be as soon as the NEA issues its final list of official candidates,” Abu Shoka stated in the conference.
On January 19, President Sisi announced his candidacy for a second term in the 2018 presidential election, which is scheduled to be held from March 26 until March 28 for Egyptians residing in Egypt.
The announcement came during Sisi’s closing speech at the end of the three-day “Tale of a Homeland” conference, where the president and the Egyptian government presented an overview of projects and achievements in different fields during the last four years.
Sisi also expressed his intention to run for president on his official Twitter account, calling on the Egyptian people to participate intensively in the upcoming election by voting for whomever they see most eligible. Sisi won nearly by 97 percent of votes in the 2014 presidential election. According to Abu Shoka, Sisi received a total of 915,000 endorsement forms from citizens.