Egypt's current conditions remind me of days before 25 January revolution, says Sawiris

Ahram Online , Tuesday 12 Jan 2016

The business tycoon and founder of the liberal Free Eguptians Party criticised interferance in media and jailing of youth activists

Naguib Sawiris
Egypt's business tycoon Naguib Sawiris (Photo: Al Ahram)

Egyptian business tycoon Naguib Sawiris on Monday voiced disgruntlement with what he describes as “interference” in the way local media work as well as the arrest of youth, saying such practices remind him of the atmosphere ahead of the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak from power.

"The way issues are being run in Egypt today reminds me of the atmosphere before the 25 of January revolution," The founder of the liberal Free Egyptians Party, who supported the ouster of Mubarak five years ago, told ONTV.

The Mubarak years were characterised by political repression of opponents, widespread rigging of elections and security agencies' interference in political life.

Sawiris believes incumbent President Abdel Fatah El-Sisi is quite popular in Egypt, and thus “there is no need for such measures to secure his rule."

"There has been interference in media and issues related to the electoral process, as well as arrests of many youth [activists]," Sawiris added, without elaborating on his reservations about the parliamentary elections that have recently ended.

The Free Egyptians Party, which was co-founded by Sawiris in 2011 after the uprising against Mubarak, won 65 seats in the recent parliamentary elections, giving it the largest share of seats by a political party in the legislature.

The party refused to join the parliamentary bloc "In Support of Egypt", which is led by the former intelligence officer Sameh Seif El-Yazal and announced repeatedly it would solidly support the policies of El-Sisi.

"For the Love - the precursor of In Support of Egypt - would kill the democratic process in Egypt,” Sawiris told private newspaper Youm7 last month, describing the members of the formation as “sheep being led by a supreme guide just like the Muslim Brotherhood [from which ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi hails.”

He reiterated on Monday that his party "would not join the bloc in order not to be [controlled] by any power in the parliament."

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