Fri, Jun 09, 2017 - Page 6 News List

‘Anyone could beat Egypt’s al-Sisi’: possible opponent

Reuters, CAIRO

Conditions are so dire in the nation that anyone could beat Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi in next year’s presidential election if the vote is held fairly, the highest-profile potential challenger said.

Khaled Ali, 45, has not formally announced if he will oppose the president next year, but has indicated he intends to.

He is waiting to find out if he will go to prison.

The human rights and labor lawyer went on trial last week on public indecency charges that carry up to two years in prison. If convicted, even with a fine, he will be barred from running.

“If we had fair elections, anyone could defeat [al-]Sisi,” Ali said in an interview.

Poor economic conditions, deteriorating security and a crackdown on political freedoms mean al-Sisi is losing popularity, Ali said.

Ali says he is prepared to address the nation’s issues, but thinks it is unlikely security forces will allow his potential candidacy a fair shot.

“Society needs to have an experience of resistance. If we keep not resisting, they will stay in control,” he said.

He leads the Bread and Freedom Party, eight of whose members have been arrested since April on charges including “misusing social media to incite against the state” and insulting the president.

“The regime is trying to make even caring about politics scary,” he said. “They are trying to make it come with a high price.”

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