Expat vote approaches: Candidates speak to media, campaigns step up efforts
Both presidential candidates Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and Hamdeen Sabbahi - REUTERS
By AMIRA EL-FEKKI

CAIRO: Presidential campaigns launched a new round of activities across Egypt on Monday to support their candidates, as each candidate prepared to speak to the public on Monday evening.

Candidate Abdel Fatah al-Sisi is scheduled to continue the second part of his interview with Sky News Arabia Monday evening, while candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi will address the Egyptian community abroad in a video conference. Both campaigns are extending efforts to obtain the support of Egyptian expatriates, who are scheduled to begin voting on May 15.

Sisi met on Monday with a number of intellectuals and writers to discuss issues faced by Egyptians and the role of culture in shaping public opinion and raising public awareness, according to a statement that his campaign posted on its Facebook page.

“The concept of a military or religious rule is not going to be accepted anymore in the coming phase; the constitution and laws guarantee and protect democracy and freedoms,” Sisi said, adding that Egypt needs intellectuals to help marginalized communities integrate, according to the statement.

Among the attendees were head of the Writers Union Mohamed Salmawy, renowned writer Gamal El-Ghitany, poet Ahmed Abdel-Moaty Hegazy and intellectual Gaber Asfour, with whom Sisi discussed a number of social issues concerning culture and education.

Sisi also met on Sunday with young members of his campaign, which he had not had the chance to do previously, according to statements made by Karim el-Saka, a member of his campaign’s political bureau, who spoke to ONtv last Friday.

His presidential campaign organized a rally in Safaga on Sunday evening, while Mohamed Badran, member of Sisi’s political committee and coordinator of the “Nation’s Future Coalition,” met with the Egyptian community in Kuwait, insisting that their participation is a crucial part of their national duty.

During his previous interview with the CBC, Sisi said he considered Egyptian expatriates an important source of funding, and called on their investment in the country.

Meanwhile, the official Facebook page for Sabbahi’s campaign reported on the rallies it held, including one with bicycles organized in different neighborhoods in Cairo, popular conferences organized in governorates, and its new supporters including actors, social figures and political parties.

Young revolutionaries and political forces also held a press conference on Monday afternoon to form a joint coalition supporting Sabbahi in the presidential elections. A number of young members from the April 6 Youth Movement have also announced their intention to support Sabbahi instead of boycotting the elections, as the group strictly opposes Sisi.

Mazen Hamza, in charge of the issues of people with special needs, visited five centers in Asyut on Monday, to discuss their issues and demands to be included in society and the job market and to receive social security.

Sabbahi has been on a tour in governorates and has met with workers over the past two days.

 

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