Salafists, Tamarod support Sisi’s bid for presidency

Photo: Salafists, Tamarod support Sisi’s bid for presidency / Arab World

Egypt's Salafist party al-Nour and the anti-Muslim Brotherhood grassroots movement Tamarod have expressed their support after the country's army chief Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi resigned on Wednesday as defense minister and announced his plan to run for president, Al Arabiya reported.

Head of the al-Nour party Jalal Mura told reporters Wednesday that an "honorable Egyptian citizen like Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to enter the presidential race amid the difficult situation experienced in the country."

Mura urged Egyptians to cooperate with each other to "exit this quagmire and for Egypt to return to its national, regional and international position."

Tamarod, a key movement behind the toppling of Islamist President Mohammad Mursi on July 30 in a popularly backed ouster, gave its full-fledged support to Sisi in a statement it released Wednesday.

"Our choice for a figure like the marshal [Sisi] is representative of a big section of the Egyptian people," it said.

However, London-based Muslim Brotherhood leader Ibrahim Muni told Al Arabiya News that "there will be no stability or security if Sisi wins elections."

Soon after Mursi's ouster, the military-backed interim government quashed the Muslim Brotherhood movement, arresting many of its members, including top leaders.

Despite criticism by human rights groups over its crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt did not decelerate its suppression of the Islamist movement. Recently, an Egypt court gave death sentences to more than 500 Muslim Brotherhood members, compelling the United States to denounce the move.

The leftist presidential hopeful Hamdin Sabahi, who said he won't be seeking Islamist votes, welcomed Sisi's candidacy in a tweet.

"I welcome Sisi's candidacy, and we seek ... democratic elections that [are] transparent and guarantee neutrality of the nation and the will of the people to choose their president freely."

Sabahi, one of the prominent leaders of the National Salvation Front, was among the politicians involved in the toppling of Mursi.

Meanwhile, spokesman for Sabahi's campaign Masoum Marzouk urged for a similar opportunities for the leftist leader.

Marzouk said Sabahi must be given an "equal" opportunity to give a television address to Egyptians as Sisi did on Wednesday night.

The liberal party which used to be headed by the Nobel laureate Mohammad ElBaradei, who was also one of the leaders in the National Salvation Front, said "Sisi has the right to enter the race as civilian citizen after resigning from his military position."

But the party, which is now headed by Hala Shukrallah, said all candidates must have an equal opportunity.

"We demand him [Sisi] to be like other candidates not backed by the country's institution."

In a televised statement, Sisi said Wednesday he had resigned from the military and that it would be the last time he wears his military uniform, stating: "I give up the uniform to defend the nation."

He is set to run in next month's elections.

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