Mohamed Bahaa El-Din Abu Shoka, legal adviser and spokesperson for the electoral campaign of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, said Monday that his candidate should not be asked about the lack of other candidates in the upcoming election.
“[Al-Sisi] is not responsible for politicians’ reluctance to engage in political life, the blame should be directed towards those who did not succeed [in meeting candidacy requirements],” Abu Shoka stated at a Monday press conference.
According to him, Al-Sisi has used his constitutional right to run for a second term and is not in charge of others, adding that there is not a country in the world where the president is asked to justify the absence of other candidates.
This came in response to questions raised by reporters in the room following the withdrawal and exclusion of five potential candidates in the past few weeks and accusations towards the regime of using repressive means against presidential rivals, paving the way for Al-Sisi as a solo candidate.
However, three days prior to the deadline to submit candidacy applications, confusing news circulated about the possibility of other candidates joining the race, ending with the candidacy of Moussa Mostafa Moussa, head of El-Ghad Party, despite him previously endorsing Al-Sisi for a second term.
Abu Shoka said that they have become “used to proactive attacks on presidential elections,” and that international observation reports issued on the 2014 election proved its transparency.
“Stay tuned and learn,” was a message Abu Shoka communicated during the conference, explaining that the campaign’s two parallel goals are winning the election and mobilising voters, aiming for a high turnout “to silence conspiring lips.”
Abu Shoka further explained that Al-Sisi’s first presidential term will end on 3 June, but promised that the campaign will have regulations in order to separate between his actual power and his electoral campaign.
Among the rules: no officials can be part of the campaign and opinions expressed by campaign members do not represent the state.
Lastly, the spokesperson asserted that the campaign aims for minimum expenditure.
Abu Shoka said Al-Sisi’s campaign submitted 173,000 endorsement forms from citizens to the National Electoral Commission, although more than 900,000 forms were received by the campaign.