Business News/ News / World/  Egypt’s el-Sisi vows to oust Muslim Brotherhood ahead of elections

Washington/Dubai: Egypt’s former army chief Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi from office, ruled out any reconciliation with the Muslim Brotherhood if he wins this month’s presidential election.

“There’ll be nothing called Muslim Brotherhood during my presidential period," el-Sisi, one of two candidates seeking the top job, said in first of two-part televised interview late night on Monday.

Egypt has carried out a bloody crackdown on Islamists since el-Sisi led the July overthrow of Morsi. Security forces have killed hundreds of Brotherhood supporters, and arrested and put on trial thousands more, including Morsi and other senior leaders. Hundreds have been sentenced to death.

The government has branded Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization.

El-Sisi (59) was hailed by supporters for rescuing the country from Islamist influence. Critics say he’s returning Egypt to the kind of repressive rule it experienced under Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted in a 2011 uprising. The spread of violence in the run-up to voting, which starts on 26 May, has hobbled efforts to revive an economy growing at the slowest pace in two decades.

In the latest clashes, a student was killed in fighting between supporters of el-Sisi and the Brotherhood in the province of Qalyubia, the state-run Middle East News Agency reported.

Suicide bombs

Egyptian security forces have also been targeted in near daily attacks by militant groups, including suicide bombings. Officials have blamed the Brotherhood, saying it’s trying to destabilize the transition to democracy. The group denies involvement and says it’s committed to peaceful protest.

El-Sisi said he’ll make stability and security his priorities, and won’t increase the army’s influence over politics. Hamdeen Sabahi, the only other candidate, said last month that government agencies may throw weight behind the former military chief.

El-Sisi said he’ll tolerate criticism and opposition if he wins, though he added that “we have to avoid attacking each other". He said he’s already survived two assassination attempts, without giving details.

He also said that in the transition period since Morsi was toppled, when he mostly served as defence minister, the issues on which he took an active role in cabinet included increases in public wages and social security payments.

In the interview, the former army chief appeared largely poised and calm, wearing a navy blue suit and powder blue tie. He said one of the mistakes that Morsi had made was not communicating with Egyptians. People have to know and understand, he said. Bloomberg

Tarek El-Tablawy in Cairo contributed to this story.

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Updated: 06 May 2014, 10:28 PM IST
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