Presidential candidate Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s decision to withhold his platform is a sign of the continuation of an administration not subject to observation or accountability, said the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE).
AFTE released a statement on Tuesday condemning statements made by Al-Sisi regarding his platform during a television interview conducted on Sunday. Al-Sisi had said that he will not share his platform, citing “national security” concerns.
The former defence minister compared his electoral platform to the state’s five-year plan, saying that only the broad lines should be mentioned without details to avoid “schemers” being attracted to his development plan.
AFTE said that such a rationalisation reinforces what the organisation has long criticised regarding the state’s dealings with its citizens. It added that such behaviour formerly opened the door for corruption.
“This stage of democratisation and transitional justice should enjoy the highest level of transparency and partnership in policy-making and decision-making,” AFTE’s statement read.
The association also stressed the importance of revising the truth to the concept of national security. It added that national security should not be a “scare tactic” used by decision makers and “summoned without clear criteria”.
The two candidates competing for Egypt’s presidency are actively vying for votes during the last week before the elections, as both held meetings to showcase the highlights of their campaigns.
Al-Sisi met on Monday night with a delegation of 24 ambassadors for Asian countries and discussed potential investment in Egypt. Al-Sisi, who has enjoyed wide popularity after ousting former Islamist President Mohamed Morsi last July, is expected to win next week’s presidential elections.
Al-Sisi stressed that Egypt, which has strong and historic ties with Asian countries, is in need of cooperation and communication with all countries. He added that the Asian continent has “pioneering” experiences in the field of economic development.
The former defence minister said that his vision for Egypt’s future is based on providing a massive infrastructure that could drive Egypt to become “a real services hub in the region.”
“Egypt’s future investment map is promising, with big opportunities for our friends from different countries,” Al-Sisi said during the meeting, according to a statement released by his presidential campaign. He added that the future of Egypt’s investment lies in expansion, noting that Egyptians live on only 7% of Egypt’s total area.
The presidential candidate also discussed investment with Saudi Prince and businessman Al-Waleed Bin Talal on Monday. Al-Sisi expressed his gratitude to Bin Talal and the “huge” role the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has recently played in supporting Egypt’s economy, a statement from his presidential campaign read.
The meeting reflected Al-Sisi’s keenness on interacting with Arab businessmen and investors, according to the statement.
Al-Sisi also met with a delegation of chairmen and representatives of political parties and movements, when he stressed their “vital” role in forming “a system of political awareness for the Egyptian citizen.”
The former defence minister addressed the issue of involving the youth and “creating a genuine role for them”, his campaign said. Al-Sisi said that the youth have been marginalised lately due to several factors including poor educational and cultural conditions and the increasing poverty rates.
“If we leave the youth jobless and without a real role, we will all pay the price,” Al-Sisi said during the meeting.
Al-Sisi stated that the coming parliament should realise the size of the challenges facing the nation. He stressed that the parliament’s role is crucial, adding that legislators should have “sufficient imagination to create legislations capable of serving the nation and supporting an environment of development and investment …”
Nasserist candidate Hamdeen Sabahy meanwhile announced that his campaign’s closing ceremony will be held in Abdeen Square on Friday. The event is scheduled to begin after the Friday Prayers in the afternoon; Sabahy is expected to deliver a speech at 6pm. The closing conference is supposed to be followed by a concert.
Sabahy and a group of his presidential campaign met with a group of artists and intellectuals on Sunday night, his campaign said. During the meeting, Sabahi stressed the need for a partnership between the state and the civil society to help develop culture and society. He added that his platform addresses the development of the Egyptian culture.
During his reign, Sabahy said the state would support creativity and youth ideas.
Egyptian expatriates have already cast their votes during the five-day presidential elections abroad, which stretched from Thursday to Monday.
Preliminary results from 113 polling stations around the world indicate that Al-Sisi will claim a landslide victory over Sabahy in the expatriate portion of the presidential elections, with the former reaping 92.5% of the votes.
Polls inside the country are scheduled to open on 26 and 27 May.
Sabahy finished in third place in the 2012 presidential elections. Al-Sisi, who stepped down as commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces in March, was appointed minister of defence in August 2012.