Leftist presidential candidate in Egypt sees media bias for Sisi

CAIRO -- Leftist presidential hopeful Hamdeen Sabahi on Sunday bemoaned what he called Egyptian media's "blatant" backing for his prime opponent, former army chief Abdel Fattah Sisi.

Sabahi is facing an uphill challenge against Sisi, who gained massive popularity when he orchestrated the ousting of Mohamed Morsi following nationwide protests against the president and his Muslim Brotherhood last summer.

"The media are promoting an image that all Egyptians will undoubtedly vote for Sisi, and this is against the reality of Egyptians who have deposed two [ruling] regimes," Sabahi said in an interview on the Al-Mayadeen TV channel on Saturday.

Sabahi, who came third in the 2012 race that saw Morsi become Egypt’s first democratically elected president, also claimed that Sisi is supported by allies of Hosni Mubarak, who ruled the country for decades until he was overthrown in 2011.

"There are honorable figures in Sisi's [presidential] campaign, but the majority of the campaign members are remnants of the Mubarak regime trying to rule Egypt once again through Sisi," Sabahi said.

"All the icons of corruption are in his team and are backing him."

Earlier statements issued by Sabahi's campaign accused government civil servants of violations during the process of issuing documented proxies needed for candidates.

According to Egypt's elections law, nominees are obliged to submit no less than 25,000 signatures from 15 governorates to be able to run for presidency.

Last week, the governor of El Wadi El Gedeed was forced to step down from his post after photographs of him publicly supporting Sisi were circulated by social media users.

Following months of anticipation, Sisi resigned as defense minister March 26 to be eligible for the election, set for May 26 and 27.

In addition to a number of governmental entities and unions, members of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces announced their support of his candidacy.

Sabahi said he won't be deterred from running despite the "media and the interim government's irregularities."


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Hassan is a special correspondent.

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