Business tycoon Naguib Sawiris says he supports Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi for president, pointing out that the vote on the new constitution would indicate the people’s support of 30 June.
In an interview with the “Gomla Mofida” program that would be aired on the the MBC channel Monday evening, Sawiris said Egypt needs a strong president more than ever.
“If Sisi does not run for the presidency, we would not find another candidate who enjoys the support of a large majority,” he said. “There is no other hero as such that meets the aspirations of the people.”
“Without Sisi, we will face disaster,” he added.
He said that he met Sisi only once when he was the chief of intelligence. “I felt that he had a clear desire to calm things down and assist in building a new political system,” he said.
He also said that he prefers holding the parliamentary elections first. “They might hold them simultaneously so as to reduce cost and ensure security,” he said.
He also touched upon Beblawy’s interim government, saying that it came in difficult circumstances and not as a result of elections. “It is unfair to evaluate it after four months only in which it had to fight clashes with the Brotherhood,” he said.
On the protests law, Sawiris said it should have been presented to the various political forces before issuing it. “The issue of arming the police during demonstrations needs further study,” he said.
He added that whoever objects to the law should resort to the courts and not demonstrate. “Demonstrations could be abused by the Brotherhood,” he warned. “It makes no sense to cheer now against the army and the police when their men are killed everyday in the war against terrorism.”
He praised the articles of the constitution on freedoms and positive discrimination of women and Copts. “But I did not like the article on the progressive tax,” he said. “This should be left for legislators to decide so as to guarantee a new tax law that takes social justice into account.”
“The Brotherhood under Morsy tried to pressure me and my family as regards a certain tax problem,” he said, adding that a mediator from an Arab country close to the Brotherhood’s political project offered him to solve the problem if he stopped practicing politics through the Free Egyptians Party. “I told him clearly that I will not be silenced while I see Egypt getting lost.”
“I also rejected an offer to become governor,” he said. “It was impossible for me to accept any office under the regime of Mohamed Morsy.”
“I was planning to retire from business and concentrate on social work,” he added. “But the 25 January revolution inspired me to translate my passion for Egypt into a civilian, political struggle.”
“That revolution was important to bring about political transformation and adopt freedoms in the face of the tyranny of Mubarak's regime,” he said. “The crime his regime did was that it did not allow for a strong civilian infrastructure to face the religious trend with a real political cadre.”
“The January revolution was hijacked by the Brotherhood due to mistakes by unsuspecting youth,” he said, accusing the military council of collusion with the Brotherhood.
Sawiris lamented the death of poet Ahmed Fouad Negm. “This is a personal loss,” he said. “The man had an impact on my personality just like Guevara.”
He scoffed at accusations by the supporters of the Brotherhood. “They claimed I financed the 30 June demonstrations, which is really funny,” he said
He also scoffed at charges of contempt of Islam and saw that it was impossible for him to do so. “I have financed the restoration of most of the ancient mosques,” he said. “And my closest friends are Muslims.”
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm