On Sunday, presidential hopeful and former military commander Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met with a number of leftist figures.
Those meeting with Sisi, according to state media coverage, included Abdel Hakim Abdel Nasser, the son of late President Gamal Abdel Nasser, Abdel Halim Qandil, a Nasserist journalist and staunch critic of the Mubarak and Morsi regimes, Shahinda Maklad, an activist known for her anti-feudalism struggles and Karima al-Hefnawy, a socialist activist.
According to Al-Akhbar, Sisi praised Nasser’s legacy, as well as that of the 1960s, a decade which he claimed was only harmed by the army’s defeat in its war with Israel in 1967. In the meeting, Sisi spoke to the logic of many of the attending figures, who remain supporters of a strong state position in the economy.
Accordingly, he spoke of the critical importance of national projects that aim to boost the economy. He also discussed the importance of the activation and rehabilitation of the public sector. Sisi’s unspoken and unannounced electoral program has been associated already with two main national projects: the housing project supported by an Emirati contractor and the the Suez Canal development project.
He then moved on to praise the youth and the indispensability of their inclusion and empowerment.
According to Al-Akhbar, the attendees agreed with Sisi that members of the Mubarak and Morsi regimes will not be part of the upcoming political scene following his election.
The two-hour long meeting, according to Al-Akhbar, included 17 public figures. Gamal Zahran, a professor of political science who attended the meeting, said that none of those who attended have any personal motives in supporting Sisi and do not stand to gain anything in doing so.
Zahran told Al-Akhbar that the attendees likened Sisi to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who took over as a young man after former President Boris Yeltsin and who also came from an intelligence background.
The meeting strengthens expectations of a rift between the leftist and Nasserist camp, many members of which are standing with Sisi in his presidential bid, his only rival being Nasserist politician Hamdeen Sabbahi.
In statements to state-owned Al-Ahram, Nasser said he supports Sisi because he’s the most suitable candidate for the current period, given the threats that Egypt faces from the Muslim Brotherhood.
Nasser added that their endorsement of Sisi does not mean they no longer support Sabbahi, but the current circumstances mean that there is a preference for Sisi as a military figure. Nasser also stated that indicators show that Sisi is the winner of the presidential contest in any case.