Egypt’s ex-army chief Abdel Fattah el-Sissi has said the Muslim Brotherhood will no longer exist if he becomes president. In a television interview, he also rejected claims that he long harbored a plan to seize power.
In an interview that aired on private Egyptian television channels on Monday, el-Sissi said there would be no future for the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood.
He was asked whether the Brotherhood would no longer exist, under his presidency, to which he replied: “Yes.”
“It is not me who finished it, the Egyptians did,” he added.
The comments gave the clearest indication so far by the former defense minister and head of the armed forces that there would be no political reconciliation with the Muslim Brotherhood.
El-Sissi denied that he had plans to seize power at the time that he announced the removal from office of former President Mohammed Morsi – Egypt’s first democratically elected leader, who was ousted from office on July 3 last year.
“I could’nt respect myself if I thought that way, that I made a plan to seize power in Egypt. I wouldn’t be respecting myself or the people,” said Morsi.
El-Sissi said he had only changed his mind when he became fully aware of the “threats facing Egypt from inside and outside,” highlighting the turmoil that followed the August 14 dispersal of two pro-Morsi protest camps in Egypt.
The AFP news agency also reported el-Sissi – who is expected to win the May 26-27 election – as saying the army would not have a role in governing the country, if he were to be elected president.
Morsi’s toppling followed weeks of unrest, with millions taking to the street to oppose his divisive rule. Following Morsi’s removal from office, the interim government launched a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood in which more than 1,400 people have been reported killed.
rc/rg (AFP, AP, Reuters)