Sisi to reduce campaign size, media reports

The privately owned Al-Masry Youm daily reported on Monday that former Defense Minister and presidential candidate Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has reduced his campaign size to fend off claims of over-expenditure. 

According to the newspaper, Sisi’s campaign team has now been reduced to four main executives. Amr Moussa, the former head of the 2013 constitutional committee, and Mahmoud Karem, an ambassador, have been kept on the team, along with two members who have yet to be identified. 

Sources close to Sisi said he prefers a campaign that is less official and more popular in nature. Al-Masry Al-Youm also reported that some of his supporters have objected to the way members of his official campaign were chosen, overlooking the popular campaigns supporting his bid even before he announced that he would run. 

The original official campaign had reportedly included figures such as Mostafa Abdel Gelil, a member of the Egyptian Association for Change that stood against deposed President Hosni Mubarak, Khaled Youssef, a filmmaker, and Amr al-Shobaky, a political scientist, among others. 

Some analysts have repeatedly said that Sisi’s campaign is built upon his widespread popularity and, accordingly, he doesn’t need an official campaign or an electoral program. 

According to Al-Masry Al-Youm, Sisi’s electoral program has been reduced to 75 pages, to be released when the official campaigning kicks off. His campaign is looking into arranging a roundtable discussion with journalists or a televised address to present this program and answer other queries. 

Al-Masry Al-Youm also reported that Sisi has no plan to form a party now or upon his election, based on the belief that he is everyone’s leader. The newspaper added that he also wants to avoid the mistake of his predecessor, who is said to have sided with his party. 

The official campaigning starts on May 3, following the completion of all necessary requirements set by the High Elections Commission for candidates running in the upcoming elections. 

Meanwhile, the High Elections Commission will start looking into appeals against the candidates, a process that will take two days. 

A judicial sources from the commission told privately owned Al-Shorouk that if one of the two candidates, Sisi or Hamdeen Sabbahi, drops out of the race, the remaining candidate will have to receive 5 percent of Egypt’s total of 54 million eligible votes to secure a legal victory in the elections.