Sisi’s popularity not a fait accompli: Sabbahi
Minister of Defense Abdel Fatah al-Sisi - YOUM7 (Archive)

CAIRO: The popularity of Defense Minister Abdel Fatah al-Sisi may change as it is subjected to his performance and position, presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi said in an interview with CBC Channel on Friday.

Sisi is commonly expected to run for president, what would confront Sabbahi with a competitor that can rely on a wide popularity among Egyptians.

Sabbahi suggested that the field marshal owes his reputation to his accomplishments as military chief and defense minster, but that running for president would be something different.

As Sisi did not announce his candidacy so far, Sabbahi did not want to speculate about a possible electoral platform of the military chief.

Furthermore, National Salvation Front (NSF) spokesperson Wahid Abdul Mageed  told Al-Arabia Channel Friday that Sisi’s popularity is declining.

He denied that the candidacy of Sabbahi would be at stake over the immunity of the decisions of the Supreme Presidential Elections Committee. Sabbahi, whose Popular Current is one of the NSF parties, opposed granting immunity to the committee’s decisions.

Abdul Mageed added that there are more important issues to discuss than the elections committee, like the need for the state apparatus to remain neutral in the elections to guarantee equal chances for each candidate.

In a poll conducted by the Egyptian Center for Public Opinion Research (Baseera) in March 51 percent of the 2062 respondents said they would vote for Sisi in the presidential elections. Compared to a poll in January by the Misr University for Science and Technology, with 62 percent of the respondents in favor of Sisi’s presidency, this is a decline. However, according to the Baseera poll Sabbahi can count on only 1 percent of the votes, still far behind Sisi.

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