Egyptian celebs join call for Sisi to run for second term

Updated 17 October 2017

Egyptian celebs join call for Sisi to run for second term

CAIRO: A new petition calling for Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to run for a second term in next year’s election has attracted the support of a number of Egyptian celebrities. El-Sisi’s current term ends in June 2018.

Movie stars, footballers, and prominent media personalities have added their voices to the “Alashan Tebneeha” (So You Can Build It) campaign recently launched by a group of parliamentarians.

From movie star Hani Salama and controversial actress Ghada Abdel Razek, to veteran actors including Hussein Fahmy and Hassan Yousef, social media has been filled with pictures of celebs posing with the form they’ve signed.

But the organizers of the campaign stress that it is attracting Egyptians from all walks of life, and they reportedly have plans to tour Egyptian governorates to encourage more citizens to participate.

Art critic Nader Adly told Arab News that the celebrity endorsements “could boost public support for the initiative supporting El-Sisi’s re-election.”

“Artists in Egypt have been always affiliated with those in power, since the days of King Farouk,” Adly said. “The majority of our artists are supportive of our rulers and have no opposing views to our leadership. They would voice opposition in their artwork but not in (public statements).”

The 62-year-old El-Sisi is widely expected to run for a second term, although he has — on several occasions — declined to comment on his plans. He has, however, previously urged Egyptians in televised comments to come out and vote in large numbers in next year's election.

UN Syria envoy to step down next month

Updated 17 October 2018

UN Syria envoy to step down next month

  • “I will myself be moving on as of the last week of November,” Staffan de Mister said
  • He said he was leaving for “purely personal reasons”

UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations envoy for Syria announced on Wednesday he will step down at the end of November after more than four years in the key post, setting back UN efforts to end the seven-year war in Syria
“I will myself be moving on as of the last week of November,” Staffan de Mistura told the UN Security Council during a meeting on the crisis in Syria.
The Italian-Swedish diplomat, who became the UN’s third Syria envoy in July 2014, said he was leaving for “purely personal reasons” and had discussed his plans to leave with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
“I am not laying down the charge until the last hour of the last day of my mandate,” he said.
De Mistura will be traveling to Damascus next week to push for the creation of a committee to agree on a post-war constitution for Syria.
Syria is resisting the UN-led effort to set up the constitutional committee that will be comprised of government officials, opposition members and representatives of civil society.
De Mistura was appointed UN envoy for Syria in July 2014 after veteran Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi resigned following the failure of peace talks in Geneva.
Brahimi spent two years in the position, stepping in after former UN chief Kofi Annan quit just six months into the role.
More than 360,000 people have died in the war in Syria, which began in March 2011 as an uprising against President Bashar Assad but has since morphed into a complex war with myriad armed groups, some of which have foreign backing.