Presidential frontrunner Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on Sunday Egypt’s situation will improve in two years, adding that he would not hesitate to resign if there were mass protests against him.
Sisi, lauded by millions of Egyptians for ousting Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July last year, is expected to trounce his only rival, leftist leader Hamdeen Sabbahi, in the May 26-27 election.
“If things go according to the plan we have prepared, we will see an improvement in two years,” the retired field marshal said in an interview with Sky News Arabia.
Egypt’s “problems will be over in two years”, he added.
The country has been rocked by more than three years of political turmoil that toppled two presidents after massive street protests, a deadly crackdown on protesters that has killed more than 1,400 people, and a spate of militant attacks that has left the country deeply polarised and the economy in a shambles.
The crackdown on backers of Morsi, Egypt’s first freely elected president, saw more than 15,000 people jailed and hundreds sentenced to death in rulings that have triggered international outrage.
When asked to comment on the court decisions Sisi said: “I don’t have the right to comment on judiciary rulings.”
“Nobody should comment on judiciary rulings,” he added.
In April, a judge in the central city of Minya angered international rights groups after he sentenced to death nearly 700 alleged Morsi supporters after a speedy trial.
In Sisi’s second television interview since announcing his candidacy in March, he said there was no “feud” between him and Morsi’s blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood, which is has been targeted in the authorities’ crackdown.
He said during Morsi’s one year rule, the Brotherhood “projected itself in a way that made Egyptians feel that they can’t live with them (the Brotherhood) again”.
When asked in an earlier interview on Monday with two Egyptian channels whether the Brotherhood would cease to exist under his presidency, Sisi had answered “Yes,” rejecting any idea the movement might have a place in Egypt’s political future.
The Brotherhood was Egypt’s best-organised political force for decades, even though it has been banned for most of its existence since it was founded in 1928.
Sisi has faced Western calls to reach out to its supporters.
On Sunday, Sisi said he would not hesitate to step down if there were mass protests against him, like those that toppled long-time strongman Hosni Mubarak in early 2011 and later against Morsi in 2013.
“If the people go out (on the streets), I will ask them ‘What do you want? I am under your orders’,” he said when asked what he would do in the face of such popular uprisings.
“I won’t wait for the army (to intervene)… the army acts according to the people’s will.”
Sisi led the ouster of Morsi after millions of people staged demonstrations, accusing the Islamist of a power grab and ruining an already dilapidated economy.