Coptic businessman Naguib Sawiris has launched the most vicious attack on the regime of Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi and directed bitter criticisms at the political, economic and security conditions in the country.
This came during the speech Sawiris delivered at the general annual conference of the Liberal Egyptians Party, which he founded in 2011 in the aftermath of the January revolution.
Parliament was stillborn
Commenting on the performance of the new parliament, Sawiris stressed that he was “unhappy with the performance of the parliament so far.” He explained that “this parliament was stillborn and the state is pleased with the distortion campaign the media is waging against the parliament.”
He attacked the “Support Egypt” coalition that is backed by security agencies saying it gives the impression that the state does not trust the free parties that do not succumb to its control. Sawiris added that “Support Egypt” is an ambiguous entity for “it is neither a party nor a coalition and it’s not governed by a programme or an intellectual framework, which makes it almost impossible to deal with.”
“The state believes that leaving the parties free without intervention would be dangerous for Egypt.” He stressed that the Liberal Egyptians Party endeavours to serve Egypt and to be the voice of the living conscience in parliament.
The situation is tough
Sawiris added that the economic situation in Egypt is tough. Tourism is on hold and bureaucracy hinders investments. He stressed on the necessity of reaching quick radical solutions for the economic crises the county is enduring and rejected Al-Sisi’s calls for citizens to donate one pound a day for Egypt.
“They are asking us to donate one pound every morning for Egypt while the state agencies are squandering millions unnecessarily.”
Sawiris demanded the government get rid of the bureaucracy that plagues state institutions and stressed that such measures hinder development and economic progress.
He described the economic inclinations of the government as arbitrary and demanded the responsibility for developing the Suez Canal should be given to an economist so as to boost investment.
Calling for the government to “wake up”, Sawiris criticised the failure of the government in managing giant factories while the private sector achieves success in this field.
Several days ago, Sawiris clashed with Tariq Amir, governor of the Central Bank, and accused him of corruption and of exploiting his position for personal gains. This was in reference to blocking the deal to buy the firm CI Capital from the Commercial International Bank.
Sawiris announced his determination to sue the governor because of the latter’s decision to replace the heads of banks and because of his intervention in the CI Capital deal.
During his speech, Sawiris complained that members and representatives of the Liberal Egyptians Party are subjected to security harassments. He hinted that security agencies spy on him and on the party’s leaders.
Due to the proximity of the party’s building to the Ministry of the Interior, the latter can hear the group’s conversations without the need to spy, he said.
On the other hand, Issam Khalil, chairman of the Liberal Egyptians Party, said that the party achieved a great accomplishment by scoring first place among the political parties in the recent parliamentary elections. He also cited the extreme difficulties the party faced while competing for first place.
Khalil warned that should parliament remain as it is now it may not last for much longer. The Liberal Egyptians Party opposes the domination over parliament by a single faction so as not to repeat the experience of 2010 and 2012, he explained.
Conditions in Egypt have now become worse than they were on 30 June 2013, he warned, asking the state to carry out the local elections on time and to eliminate bureaucracy so as to achieve progress in Egypt.
Shehab Wajeeh, spokesperson for the Liberal Egyptians Party, held a press conference during the conference to present the party’s vision and its future plans for growth. He announced that the party set up a developmental society under the name “The Egypt we Dream of” in order to communicate with citizens and provide them with financial aid and other services.
He also announced the readiness of the party to compete in the next local elections so as to confirm its presence in the political arena and to continue expanding further in all governorates by virtue of being the party that has the largest number of seats in the current parliament.
Translated from Arabi21, 31 March 2016.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.