Aboul Fotouh: I will not run for president

Strong Egypt Party leader Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh has said he will not run for president in Egypt's coming elections.

In an interview with Hayat satellite channel on Sunday, Aboul Fotouh added that he made this announcement after the previous presidential elections. He still believes the coming president should be in his 40s or 50s.

However, Abouel Fotouh added that if certain developments cause him to change his position, he might.

He added that he and his party are being "besieged by the media" much like they were towards the end of the rule of ousted President Mohamed Morsy.

"We have not changed our positions and principles since the rule of former President Hosni Mubarak, through the rule of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces all the way to Morsy."

Regarding calls for Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to run for president, Aboul Fotouh said such calls endanger the Egyptian military institution.

"Everyone knows how much I cherish this institution which some are trying to do harm to by dragging it into politics and security and pushing it to do work that is not at the heart of its function."

When Sisi said he would not run in the election, he was well aware that this served the interests of the military institution, said Abouel Fotouh. Those who want him, or other military officials to run do not want what is best for the military institution, he argued.

The Strong Egypt leader also claimed that by deciding to run for president, Sisi would grant credibility to those who claim that he led a military coup against the former regime and served his own – rather than the country's – interests.

Earlier reports last week suggested the former Muslim Brotherhood member might be preparing a presidential campaign.

Informed sources revealed that Aboul Fotouh was considering the move with close figures pressuring him to face off the army-backed candidate, al-Sisi.

A group of Aboul Fotouh supporters have been holding secret meetings to prepare for the election campaign, according to the sources, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The supporters included Cairo University political science professor and resigning advisor of former President Mohamed Morsy Seif Abdel Fattah, former assistant to Foreign Minister Ibrahim Yousry, political activist Abdel Rahman Yusef al-Qaradawi, former head of April 6 Youth Movement Ahmed Maher, former presidential candidate Selim Al-Awa and former MP Amr Hamzawy, who is known for his liberal politics.

The group was also looking to add four other figures to the bill, comedian Bassem Youssef, Kamal al-Helbawy, Mohamed Habib and Mukhtar Noah.

Military sources told Egypt Independent that Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has entrusted a public relations institution with his presidential campaign.

The campaign would be run by Sami Abdel Aziz, a professor of public relations and advertising at Faculty of Mass Communication, Cairo University.

The campaign will focus its activities in Europe and the United States, in addition to Egypt .

Aboul Fotouh denied any news about his intention to run for presidency, saying that this is too soon to talk about this.

Aboul Fotouh came fourth in Egypt's previous presidential election which pit ousted President Mohamed Morsy against Mubarak-era Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq in the run-offs.

Edited translation from MENA

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