Three members of the popular campaign supporting the reelection of President Sisi for a second term - Hussein Talal
CAIRO – 16 October 2017: Presidential elections are approaching, as they are set to be held in May. However, no single potential candidate announced s/he would run for office.
Amid that ambiguity, a number of parliamentarians and politicians launched a campaign titled “To Build It”, demanding the re-election of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
The main reasons behind supporting President Sisi for another term boils down to continuation of the mega projects, development of the country’s infrastructure, preservation of the national security, enhancement of education systems and counterterrorism, businessman and parliamentarian Mohamed Shaaban told Egypt Today.
Parliamentarian Karim Salem, Ph.D, who serves as the campaign spokesperson, stated that the campaign got very positive responses and that it targets all social sectors, saying “our main focus is developing a good team and mechanisms to gather the signatures.”
The campaign's spokesperson MP Karim Salem - Hussein Talal
Shaaban said that the campaign leaders do not instruct volunteers to not go to “certain areas”, but they merely warn them against pressuring anyone who rejects signing the application. That is because some niche areas are dominated by supporters of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.
Campaign member Hazem Tawfik, Ph.D, said that negative responses stem only from the hike in prices of goods and services due to the ongoing economic reform measures and that volunteers can only remind and explain such citizens that “we all have to pay the price to achieve development through mega and infrastructure projects.”
Shaaban said that some citizens may not be able to identify the reasons behind the current economic situation, so the campaign has been a good channel to explain.
What’s more, Karim perceived the president’s tendency to take hard decisions that may have affected his popularity as an ultimate patriot from his part.
“People talk about subsidized goods, but talk less about free housing provided for people, who used to dwell in slum areas, like the social housing project of Asmarat,” Shaaban added.
“We dreamt of only 27 headquarters in each governorate. We got 67. People allocated some places to the campaign for free,” Shaaban said. Karim added that they have not set a target number of signatures. “Our current timeline extends till the candidacy door opens. By that time, the president may take the decision to run for office,” he added.
“We will print out and distribute pamphlets containing statistics and achievements. These pamphlets do not have to include all projects all over the country. The residents of each governorate are interested in the projects in their respective areas,” Salem added.
The campaign succeeded in collecting a big number of signatures from public figures, politicians and parliamentarians, who constitute a big portion of the campaign members, totaling up to hundreds.
Campaign member MP Mohamed Shaaban - Hussein Talal
These are facilitating the promotion of the campaign as they have knowledge to address the people, Shaaban added. Some parliamentarians have started to contact Egyptian expat groups who already knew about the campaign through the Facebook page, where they can print out a pro-Sisi petition, he said.
Shaaban added that the organizers are also trying to make an e-application solely for expats. “We also have young volunteers who put on certain T-shirts to collect signatures from people in the streets,” he continued, adding, “We don't speak in the name of the president. We are essentially members of parliament, so we are a political backup of the people. Political parties are not the only political backup in the country.”
The campaign will not collect cash donations, but people can later on help with devices to print out the pamphlets, Shaaban commented.
The Hob al Watan coalition (Homeland Love) joined the campaign, as well as many political parties and hundreds of parliamentarians, said academic Hazem Tawfiq, one of the campaign organizers.