El-Sisi calls on youth to participate in Egypt parliamentary vote

Ahram Online, Wednesday 1 Oct 2014

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi says he appreciates the 'love and support' he received from Egyptian expatriates in the US, calls for youth to vote in upcoming polls

Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi (Photo: Al-Ahram Weekly)

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has called on young people to actively participate in the upcoming parliamentary elections.

Speaking at a military academy on Wednesday, El-Sisi warned that Egyptians should vote for "national and rational forces" in the polls, "so as not to have problems."

"I call on political parties to include young people and to push them to work and participate...this is what we need."

Parliamentary elections are expected by the end of the year, and until then legislative powers remain in the hands of the president.

In his 29-minute televised speech, El-Sisi spoke about his recent visit to the United States for the Climate Summit, where he met a variety of global leaders, politicians and journalists.

He said the world had "listened attentively" to what the Egyptian delegation had to say about the country's challenges, its political roadmap and its role in the region.

"(International forces) needed time, and we've given them time... the majority has realised," El-Sisi said, speaking of the political changes that took place with the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi last year.

He added that there were some who "did not want to believe" the changes Egypt has gone through, in a veiled reference to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who recently lashed out at Egypt's leadership and criticised the world for acknowledging "a coup."

Morsi was ousted by the military in July 2013 amid days of mass protests against him and his Muslim Brotherhood group.

A political roadmap set forth after his toppling prescribed drafting a new constitution, and holding presidential and parliamentary elections, of which only the last is yet to take place.

The toppling of Morsi and the crackdown on his supporters that followed has brought international criticism, which Egypt has usually rebuffed, calling it a misunderstanding of the real dangers facing the region.

"I warned against a major threat on its way two years ago," El-Sisi said, speaking of the growing insurgency and militant activity that has torn apart Syria and Iraq and threatens other countries in the region.

"I tell our brotherly countries…this is the time of coordination, cooperation and cohesion," he said.

He said that he felt Egyptians' "support and love" while he was in the US and that their endorsement "showed the world we are different."

He was speaking at an annual celebration of the country's military success in its war against Israel in 1973.

Although El-Sisi often refers to the media and its role, it was the first time he'd tackled social media, saying that "we should take care."

Many opposition voices were silenced after thousands of Morsi supporters, as well as secular activists, were jailed in a broad crackdown on dissent.

And despite heavy support for the government and presidency in the state and private media, social media websites has saved some room for critics, who have no other platform to voice their concerns.

"When you offend someone, you offend yourself," El-Sisi said on social media activity without elaborating.

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