CAIRO: The state is biased towards a specific candidate, presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi said, referring to his competitor Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, adding that the elections are proving to be “more difficult than those held in 2012.”
“Even media channels and newspaper have failed to show neutrality when dealing with the presidential candidates,” Sabbahi added during a Monday interview on Tahrir TV channel.
The statements raised a state of controversy among experts, politicians and governmental officials. Many people said the statements came to counter the preliminary results of expat voting, which are coming out widely in favor of Sisi.
Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab said his government was committed to neutrality and would take punitive action against any biased state officials.
He added in an interview on CBC TV channel, “I investigated the complaints submitted by Sabbahi accusing a number of ministers of adopting biased positions against him. I have not found any evidence condemning them.”
He promised to dismiss any minister or governor from their position if they violate “the approach adopted by the government. “
The Karama Party issued a statement demanding that the High Presidential Election Commission open an investigation into the” meeting conducted between Sisi and Mahlab a few days back,” saying that the meeting raises questions on the government’s integrity.
The Cabinet spokesperson denied that Mahlab met with either candidate in a Monday press conference.
Maasoum Marzouk, Sabbahi’s campaign spokesperson, said that if Mahlab did meet with Sisi, “It would be a serious development that threatens not only the electoral process but also the future of the Egyptian state as whole.”
Former parliamentarian Alaa Abdel Moneim claimed that media channels, including state TV, were open to provide Sabbahi with the opportunity to present his vision. He refuted the claims raised by Sabbahi regarding government bias towards Sisi.
He added in a statement to Mehwar TV channel that Egyptians support the candidate who meets their aspirations and ambitions, adding that Sabbahi was trying to find excuses “for his failure during expat voting.”