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Egypt: Sadat's widow endorses Sisi presidency - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Jehan Sadat speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Jehan Sadat speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat—In an exclusive interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, the woman who served as Egypt’s first lady from 1970 to 1981, Jehan Sadat, said she encourages Gen. Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to run for the presidency.

“Field Marshal Sisi is a hero in every sense of the word. He is the first hero in the thirty years since Nasser and Sadat. We could not have imagined a better performance from him,” she said.

“We are facing exceptional circumstances, and if Field Marshall Sisi took power—even just for four years—he could place us on the right path. In addition to this, the military of yesterday is not the military of today. Today, the military understands that there is democracy and freedom of expression, as can be seen in how they allow protests against them.”

Jehan Sadat told Asharq Al-Awsat that she has “mixed feelings” about the anniversary of the 1973 October War on Sunday. The October War was one of President Sadat’s crowning moments as president, while his assassination just eight years later came on the anniversary during a military parade. His widow described him as a “martyr who died in his military uniform, which he adored.”

Mrs. Sadat thanked God her husband was “martyred having achieved what he wished—namely, restoring Egypt.”

As for how Egypt would be different had Sadat lived, she said: “Were he alive, the Muslim Brotherhood would have never come to power.” Under President Anwar Sadat, the Brotherhood was able to take part in the political process openly, unlike the situation during the Mubarak era.

As for why none of Sadat’s family appeared during last year’s October 6 celebrations, when Islamist Mohamed Mursi was in power, Mrs. Sadat said that she was “neither invited nor prevented” from participating in the celebrations. She added: “The killers attending and dominating the scene caused me severe pain.”

Although she said that she had voted for Ahmed Shafiq in the last presidential elections, Mrs. Sadat said that she “respected the result of the elections,” adding that “the Brotherhood must be given a chance, and they may give a good performance.” However, she concluded that “unfortunately, they failed.”

She said that Mursi split the country in two, between Brotherhood supporters and everybody else.

Sadat’s widow said she had anticipated the fall of the Brotherhood, particularly after Mursi “antagonized the judiciary and police, dealing with them in an unreasonable manner.”

She added that Mursi distanced himself from the military institution “instead of containing it and our sons in the army.” She also said he had spoiled the country’s political arena with his “incorrect concept of religion, which divided Egyptians.”