Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Wednesday threatened to take “measures” against any party messing with the country’s security.
“If any evil force mulled to mess with Egypt’s security, I would ask a second authorization from the Egyptians,” Sisi said during a ceremony marking the opening of a major natural gas field.
“There will be other measures against anyone who thinks it’s possible to mess with [Egypt’s] security,” he said, without clarifying the nature of the measures.
In 2013, Sisi called on Egyptians to take to the streets to give him the authorization to deal with “potential terrorism,” in the wake of a military coup against Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first freely elected president.
Following Morsi’s overthrow, Egyptian authorities launched a relentless crackdown on dissent, killing hundreds and sending thousands behind bars.
“What happened seven or eight years ago will not happen again,” he said, in reference to popular protests that swept autocrat Hosni Mubarak from power in 2011.
“Egypt will only be built with hard work and real achievement, not by political performance and rhetoric,” he said, going on to call on the media to be “cautious” while tackling issues related to Egypt’s national security.
Sisi’s statements came one day after a number of opposition politicians, including former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi, called for a boycott of the upcoming presidential election in March.
Only two candidates, including Sisi, are vying in the polls, scheduled to take place from March 26 to 28.
Three other would-be candidates — Khaled Ali, a prominent leftist; former prime minister Ahmed Shafik, and Mohamed Anwar al-Sadat, a veteran politician — all appear to have withdrawn from the race after earlier announcing their intention to run.
Last week, the electoral commission annulled the candidacy of Gen. Sami Anan, a former army chief-of-staff, only hours after military prosecutors summoned him for questioning for alleged “irregularities.”