Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has vowed to prevent a repeat of the 2011 uprising, threatening to take measures against anyone trying to destabilize the country, a day after opposition politicians called for a boycott of the March presidential election.
“Be warned, what happened seven or eight years ago will not be repeated. … You seem not to know me well enough. No, by God, the price of Egypt’s stability and security is my life and the life of the army,” Sisi said on Wednesday in a rare reference to the 2011 uprising that overthrew autocratic President Hosni Mubarak.
“I am not a politician who just talks,” he warned during his speech at a ceremony marking the launch of a giant offshore gas field.
The visibly furious president’s remarks came a day after a coalition of opposition parties and public figures called for the boycott of the upcoming presidential election, which sees Sisi with no serious challenger after main hopefuls were either arrested or intimidated into dropping out or quit in protest.
Sisi’s vehemence appeared to suggest that any questioning of the vote, scheduled to be held on March 26-28, was deemed equivalent to destabilizing the country, and implied he would launch an intensified crackdown.
“There will be other measures against anyone who believes he can mess with (Egypt’s) security … I fear no one but God,” he said.
“Whoever wants to mess with Egypt’s security and wreck it must get rid of me first because by God Almighty I will not allow it. I would die so that 100 million can live.”
Earlier, five opposition figures, including a 2012 presidential candidate and two senior campaign aides for now-detained presidential candidate Sami Anan, called for a boycott of the election and urged Egyptians not to recognize the result of the vote, saying it has lost all credibility.
The boycott call comes as opposition slams the election as a farce after a little-known politician, who has previously expressed his support for Sisi, added his name to the candidate list at the last minutes as a face-saver to avoid a one-candidate election, sparking considerable mockery on social media.
Sisi came to power as president in June 2014 after winning a landslide victory in the presidential election held a month earlier with securing nearly 97 percent of the vote. In July 2013, he led a military coup against Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically-elected president after the fall of former dictator Hosni Mubarak in 2011, that led to Morsi’s ouster and imprisonment.
The government led by Sisi has been cracking down on any opposition. Hundreds of Morsi supporter have been killed in clashes with Egyptian security forces over the past few years.