Prominent Egyptian journalist Mohamed Hassanein Heikal said on Thursday that presidential hopeful and former military chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi is the “ideal man” to take on the presidency.
Heikal, a confidant of several Egyptian leaders, including former president Gamal Abdel-Nasser, is still an influential figure on Egypt’s political scene.
In an interview with Egyptian private television channel CBC, Heikal said that former defence minister El-Sisi didn’t need a presidential programme or campaign platform, and that he only needed to present himself as the man who can “overcome the current crisis.”
Ongoing militant attacks by jihadist groups have claimed hundreds of lives since the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi last summer, while rights groups and some opposition politicians accuse authorities of severe rights abuses. Egypt’s economy is also struggling, buoyed largely by injections of funds from Gulf countries.
Heikal said that El-Sisi’s military background was necessary to deal with Egypt’s current circumstances, adding that the military is the only entity capable of facing challenges.
The commentator said that El-Sisi had been determined last year that Egyptians should decide referendum whether to keep Morsi in office or not, but that “he caved to people’s demands on 3 July, removing Morsi from office.”
He said that he respects politician Hamdeen Sabahi, who has said he also plans to run in the upcoming election, but that Egypt’s next stage will be highly dependent on the military forces, and thus the orders to the military should be “issued convincingly”, something he said Sabahi would be unable to do.
Heikal mentioned he had met with El-Sisi in 2010, before the Egyptian revolution and before El-Sisi had been promoted to head of the armed forces.
Commenting on foreign affairs, the journalist said that he believed Egypt had committed “grave strategic mistakes” by pursuing the US as a gateway to prosperity in the last four decades, and dismissing other possibilities.
He decried Egypt’s “isolation” from the rest of the world, and said that it had failed to focus on Arab and African ties because of its dependence on the US, citing Egypt’s dispute with Ethiopia over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam as an example.
Source : Ahram online