Egypt's Sissi 'upset' over hashtag calling for his departure

Published 28.07.2018 20:24
Updated 29.07.2018 21:47
emThe Egyptian Presidency - Handout via REUTERS/em
The Egyptian Presidency - Handout via REUTERS

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi on Saturday criticized members of the public using a hashtag to demand his resignation, as well as defending his controversial economic reforms.

"When I come to get you out of impoverishment and make you a worthy nation, you set up the hashtag #depart Sissi. Should I feel upset or not?" he said at a televised youth conference in Cairo. "In this case, I feel upset."

The hashtag went started being used in June, days after el-Sissi was sworn in for his second presidential term.

He was re-elected with 97 percent of votes in March polls that pitted him against a self-declared el-Sissi loyalist.

Al-Sisi won his first term in 2014, a year after he led the ouster of the country's first democratically elected president Mohamed Morsi.

Thousands of Muslim Brotherhood and secular activists have been arrested in Egypt since Morsi's ouster on charges of inciting violence or holding unauthorized street protests.

According to the constitution, el-Sissi's current four-year term is his last under the two-term limit.

In recent months, el-Sissi's popularity has suffered as a result of painful economic reforms that have taken their toll on most Egyptians.

He has repeatedly defended the reforms, saying they are necessary to heal the country's ailing economy.

El-Sissi's backers say he has re-established security in Egypt after the unrest that followed the 2011 uprising, which forced long-time autocrat Hosni Mubarak out of power.

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