By Mick Krever, CNN
Egypt is not “going to elect a dictator,” Former Foreign Minister Amr Moussa told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Monday as Egyptians went to the polls.
Former Egyptian military chief Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is expected to win the presidency.
“We are not going to elect a dictator,” Moussa said. “We are going to elect a president under the stipulations of a constitution.”
His comments came in response to a statement by el-Sisi’s sole opponent, Hamdeen Sabahi, that if elected he would release “all the innocent people who were convicted according to this unconstitutional law” – referring to a controversial demonstration law enacted last year.
“He said I am going to release all innocent people, meaning that he's not going to release the non-innocent people,” Moussa said. “And who determined that? Only the courts can determine that.”
El-Sisi’s victory seems all but assured, despite a new Pew poll that says only 54% of Egyptians approve of el-Sisi. His election would return the country to the military-backed rule it experienced under Hosni Mubarak.
El-Sisi, as head of the military, deposed the country’s first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsy, nearly 11 months ago. He also banned the organization that supported Morsy, the Muslim Brotherhood, which is boycotting this election.
Morsy, like his predecessor Hosni Mubarak, remains in jail.
“Our people are tired; they want stability; they want security; they want life – to go in the right direction, not to be threatened by chaos here and there,” Moussa said.
Security, he said, must come before all else – and el-Sisi will make the country secure.
“When you consider the situation in Egypt, take into consideration the security situation – the attack, the threats – before talking only on the demonstrations or certain expressions of opinion.”
Journalists still remain in prison in Egypt – three from Al-Jazeera stand accused of joining the Muslim Brotherhood, which the government says is a terrorist group, as well as broadcasting false information and working in Egypt without permits.
Amanpour interviewed the parents of Peter Greste, one of the journalists, earlier this year.
Their detention, Moussa suggested, is wrong.
“There are certain things that have to be corrected,” he said. “I cannot say that everything was all right, everything was correct. But let us also hope for a different future with the third republic being installed in a few days.”