Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in a suit
State television
Abdel Fattah al-Sisi donning civilian garb

All eyes on Sisi as he dons civilian suit

The attention of the local media was on presidential hopeful Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Thursday night, as he made a long-awaited appearance in a civilian suit as he immediately got to work on his campaign.

In a brief clip on national television, Sisi appeared donning a civilian suit in what is supposed to be his campaign headquarters, courteously greeting obscure members of the campaign.

The news package did not mention who his campaign members are, or what was discussed in the meeting.

State-owned newspaper Al-Ahram reported that the campaign included “no high-profile media or political figures.”

One thing that was made clear in the television report is that Sisi’s campaign would be “untraditional.”  

Sisi officially announced his presidential bid on Wednesday night, declaring that he was hanging up his uniform and quitting his post as minister of defense to run for the presidency. 

The field marshal reportedly discussed “issues related to his campaign and put the final touches to his program which serves the hopes and ambitions of the Egyptian people,” the television report said.

Details on the campaign are expected to be announced once the door for nomination is open, according to the report.

On Wednesday night, state television's impartiality was called into question when it aired a four-minute report on the only other presidential candidate thus far, Hamdeen Sabbahi, immediately following Sisi’s announcement.

The report described Sabbahi as a “brave struggler.”

In response to the backlash that questioned the timing of this segment, state television issued a statement explaining that it was keen on covering Sisi’s nomination objectively, which is why it followed his announcement with a phone-in analyzing his address, after which it aired a report on Sabbahi.