Update: Sisi interview with Kuwait paper is fake, says campaign

The official campaign of the unofficial president elect, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, repudiated an interview published in the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida on Thursday evening, which was marketed as the field marshal’s first interview after the election.

The article merely rehashed remarks Sisi had made to the press on different occasions, the campaign said in a statement published on its official Facebook page. While all of the quotations were accurate, the statement claimed, the interview itself was a “false scoop.”

After the interview was published, many wondered why the former army chief hadn’t granted his first post-election interview to a local media outlet.

So far, initial results indicate a solid victory for Sisi, who garnered an estimated 93 percent of the vote with an overall voter turnout of 48 percent.

The Al-Jarida piece quoted Sisi as saying that his plan was to “calm down and contain the youth,” but he was still waiting for the official tally to be announced before he would get to work.

The lack of youth involvement in the political process has been a looming concern since the 2014 constitutional referendum. The issue grew even more pressing in the presidential election, when a lower than anticipated turnout prompted the Presidential Election Commission to extend voting into a third day.

In the allegedly faked interview, Sisi stated that his government would both fight for national security and ensure that Egypt would not return to the pre-January 25, 2011 era. To that end, it would not work with figures from former President Hosni Mubarak’s regime nor the Muslim Brotherhood — but nonetheless, his administration would still be politically inclusive, Sisi asserted.

“We will choose fighters to achieve our priorities in security and stability,” Sisi was quoted as saying, promising that fears that his presidency could signal a return to the old regime were unfounded.

“We will not go backward. We will only go forward,” declared the 59-year-old ex-army commander. “We don’t have time for starting conflicts. We will open our doors for everyone to participate in nation building.”

Sisi saluted the Armed Forces, the police and the martyrs of the revolution for all the sacrifices they made until “we reached secure shores,” alluding to his presidency.

“The people are the reason for what is happening now, and we will give them happiness — by doing, and not talking,” he added. 

The Gulf was supportive of Sisi’s presidential bid, seeing the military man as the best weapon against the Muslim Brotherhood, a group that different monarchies and regimes in the region have been working hard to suppress.

The Gulf media celebrated Sisi’s presumed victory on Thursday and Friday. The Saudi newspaper Al-Watan Online reported that Sisi was the Egyptian president par excellence after the two revolutions — the one that felled Mubarak, and the one that cut short the “terrorist Muslim Brotherhood’s rule.”

Egyptian television is reportedly uncertain as to when Sisi will give an official address once his electoral victory is announced, the privately owned Al-Masry Al-Youm (AMAY) reported.

Sisi largely spurned national television during his campaign, almost exclusively appearing on privately owned channels. This apparent bias raised questions about Sisi’s position on Maspero, the mammoth state television institution.

AMAY said that no official in state television knows when Sisi will appear, and whether this would take place in the presidential palace or in a television studio. 

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