Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has given a harsh warning to anyone who plans to boycott the presidential elections in March, claiming that "whoever wants to mess with Egypt and ruin it, has to do away with me first".
Al-Sisi made the comments during a speech at the inauguration of the country's Zohr gas field yesterday, after over 150 activists and politicians called on voters to boycott the elections which are due to take place in March.
"What happened seven or eight years ago, will not happen again in Egypt," Al-Sisi said in his chilling warning to any potential boycotters, citing the 2011 revolution that overthrew long-time dictator Hosni Mubarak. "What didn't work then, will not work now. No … it looks like you don't know me well."
The presidential elections are almost certainly expected to result in victory for Al-Sisi as there is virtually no viable opposition candidacy apart from Mousa Mostafa Mousa, who himself has been known to be a firm Al-Sisi-supporter who allegedly only entered the elections to ensure Al-Sisi is not the only candidate in the polls.
The potential candidates who would have formed the real opposition have either been arrested, threatened, faced intimidation or physical violence and have eventually been forced to drop out.
A former general, Sami Anan, had planned to run against Al-Sisi before he was arrested by Egyptian security services at gunpoint on Tuesday.
Al-Sisi's only rival in the 2014 presidential elections, Hamdeen Sabahi, raised calls for a boycott of the elections using the slogan "Stay at home". He has urged all political parties to unite against Al-Sisi's "brutal tyranny of power".