Presidential hopeful Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has called on the Egyptian youth to back him and asserted that “as long as the army is good, Egypt is good.”
In an interview with private satellite channel Sky News Arabia, El-Sisi said young people should support and monitor ministers and governors “to acquire the necessary experience to lead the nation” in the next phase.
Last week, El-Sisi had given his first television interview to private channels CBC and ONTV.
El-Sisi, who retired from his post as a defence minister to run for the presidency, is widely expected to win the election on 26/27 May against leftist Hamdeen Sabahi.
He became immensely popular for his role in the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.
He said the mass protests against Morsi on 30 June 2013 were a continuation of the roadmap that began with the January 25 revolution, and were a correction to deviations from the first revolutionary wave.
Morsi was ousted on 3 July, after days of mass protests.
El-Sisi spoke of the army, his background and former post, saying the armed forces were the shield of the nation.
“As long as the (army) is good, Egypt is good,” he said.
The Egyptian army, one of the strongest in the Arab world, prides itself on its performance in the 1973 war with Israel.
“The 1973 victory recovered part of the lost Arab dream,” he said.
“No Arab country shall be threatened while we (the Egyptian armed forces) are here,” he asserted.
El-Sisi also spoke of Hamas, which rules the neighbouring Gaza Strip, saying it had “lost the sympathy” of the Egyptian people.
“Attempts to burden Egypt with the crisis of the besieged Gaza Strip and the building of tunnels that were used in terrorist attacks, brought sympathy with the Palestinian cause in Egypt to its lowest level.”
He said Egypt would continue to support the Palestinian people via the Palestinian Authority.
Hamas is the Palestinian branch of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood. A large number of Brotherhood leaders are facing trials for conducting espionage with Hamas and other foreign groups.