CAIRO (AP) - Egypt’s president on Wednesday threatened to take strong action against anyone trying to disrupt the country’s stability in a warning that followed calls by opposition politicians for a boycott of upcoming presidential elections.
The sharp warning by a visibly furious President Abdul Fattah Al Sissi was a signal that authorities will tolerate no questioning of the legitimacy of the March 26-28 vote.Al Sissi did not directly mention the boycott calls during his speech at a ceremony marking the launch of a giant offshore gas field. But the timing a day after the calls suggested he was referring to them. “There will be other measures against anyone who believes he can mess with (Egypt’s) security ... I fear no one but God,” he said.
“Whoever wants to mess with Egypt’s security and wreck it must get rid of me first because by God Almighty I will not allow it. I would die so that 100 million can live,” he added.
He said that if attempts to destabilise the nation continue, he would call on Egyptians to give him “another mandate” to counter what he called the “evil people”.
That was a reference to the “popular mandate” that Al Sissi asked for to fight terrorism in July 2013, just after he led the military’s ouster of Islamist Mohammad Morsi, whose one year in office proved divisive. Millions took to the streets in response to his call.
In his warnings Wednesday, Al Sissi also made a rare reference to the 2011 uprising that forced autocrat Hosni Mubarak to step down.
“Be warned, what happened seven or eight years ago will not be repeated. ... You seem not to know me well enough. No, by God, the price of Egypt’s stability and security is my life and the life of the army,” he said, directing an intense gaze at Defence Minister Sidki Sobhi, seated to his left. “I am not a politician who just talks,” he added.