Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has vowed to step down if he loses in next year’s presidential elections.
Speaking during a televised session at a youth conference on Tuesday, Al-Sisi said he was prepared to honour the outcome of the 2018 presidential race if Egyptians did not want him to maintain his post for a second term.
I swear to God Almighty if Egyptians don’t want me to stay another second in this position I won’t
he said in response to a question on if he would respect the outcome of next year’s election.
I could never allow myself or accept for myself, or for you all, that I stay in this position against your will.
He further added that Egyptians have the right to vote in fair elections to ensure their voices are heard properly.
Al-Sisi became president in 2013 after he led a military coup that overthrew Egypt’s first democratically elected President, Mohamed Morsi. He won 96 per cent of the vote in the following year’s presidential elections after remaining largely unchallenged.
His presidency has since been marred by mass crackdowns and arrests of mainly Islamists and dissidents, as well as restricting press freedoms and activities of rights groups and activists.
In response to Al-Sisi’s comments earlier this week, social media users launched the Arabic-language hashtag #WeDontWantSisi.
“The worst figure head the regime has ever chosen to represent itself in 65 years. [Sisi] has sold the country, killed and arrested,” one of Egypt’s most popular opposition movements, the April 6 Youth Movement, wrote.
أسوأ وجه إختاره النظام الحاكم لتمثيله في 65 عام
باع البلد وقتل وحبس الولد#مابعد_السيسي
— A6Mحركة شباب 6 أبريل (@shabab6april) April 26, 2017
The former defence minister’s popularity has declined in the last year due to the economic crises in which Egyptians have been forced to accept shortages of food staples, rising food prices, as well as a massive deterioration in their security standing which in turn as dealt a blow to their tourism industry.