The Egyptian Patriotic Movement, chaired by the former Egyptian presidential candidate Ahmed Shafik, announced yesterday that it supports the current President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s campaign in the country’s upcoming presidential election. The party’s announcement was published in the most widely circulating Egyptian state-owned daily newspaper Al-Ahram.
Voting is set to take place over three days from 26-28 March for all Egyptians residing in the country. Polls opened for Egyptians abroad last Friday.
“Yes for Sisi as the president, for stability, for security, and for the elimination of terrorism,” the party said in a statement.
They called on all Egyptians to participate in the upcoming elections and to support Sisi’s campaign.
Last November The New York Times released reports that Egyptian authorities pressured Shafik, Sisi’s strongest rival in the presidential election, to withdraw his presidential bid. It also reported that authorities in the United Arab Emirates were preventing him from leaving the country, where he had lived since 2012 after he narrowly lost a presidential election to the Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi.
The American newspaper also quoted his lawyer, Dina Adly, as saying that the Egyptian authorities had threatened to start investigating previous corruption charges against him, if he runs for presidency. Those charges were related to his post as the civil aviation minister during the tenure of the former ousted president Mubarak.
Shafik was also reported to have received an offer from the Egyptian government, brokered by Abu Dhabi, to return to Egypt without being convicted of any charges, but he denied the allegations.
Following his return in January he announced on his Twitter page that he won’t run for president. “I have seen that I will not be the ideal person to lead the state’s affairs during the coming period. Thus I have decided not to run in the upcoming 2018 presidential election,” he said.
He was believed to have been forced to withdraw his bid for president.