Singapore Markets close in 8 hrs

Egypt's international critics 'jealous' of our success, government minister says

Sam Meredith

International outcry ahead of Egypt's upcoming presidential elections probably stems from a sense of envy, a government minister told CNBC on Tuesday.

When asked whether it would be possible for Egypt's forthcoming presidential vote to provide unity in the country following widespread criticism of its democratic merit, Petroleum Minister Tarek El-Molla replied: "Normally, success would create professional jealousy and rising star countries would also attract more jealous people or jealous countries or whatever… so we will always be criticized for any of these things."

"However, we have to look at our roadmap and look at our future. We are what we call a good player in the region and in the world," he added.

US and EU urged to denounce 'farcical elections'

Egypt's Western allies were urged to publicly condemn the country's upcoming "farcical" presidential elections on Tuesday after authorities detained an anti-corruption official and a former running mate of a challenger to President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.

Fourteen international and Egyptian rights groups published a joint statement, accusing Sisi of having "trampled all over even the minimum requirements for free and fair elections."

The NGOs, including Human Rights Watch and the International Commission of Jurists, called on the U.S. , European Union (EU) and individual European countries to "denounce these farcical elections, rather than continue with largely unquestioning support for a government presiding over the country's worst human rights crisis in decades."

The joint statement came on the same day that Cairo's former top auditor Hisham Geneina was reportedly seized by police. He had run the election campaign of former military chief-of-staff Sami Anan, who was detained at the start of the year and accused of running for office without permission.

As it stands, Moussa Mustafa Moussa is the only registered challenger to Sisi for next month's vote. Five other candidates all dropped out after facing arrests or harassment.

Despite calls to denounce the vote, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson avoided criticism of Egypt's upcoming election during a visit to Cairo earlier this week. Instead, America's top diplomat said the U.S. was committed to free and fair elections in every country.