Presidential Team member arrested after initiative’s elections announcement

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Member of the “Presidential Team” initiative Ahmed Hefny was arrested on Monday in the Port Said governorate and was accused of “misuse of a social media website”, insulting the president of Egypt, and joining an illegal organisation, according to a Presidential Team statement.

“It is as if the regime is responding to the demands of the initiative by arresting our colleague to convey a message and prove that it [the state] is pushing the country towards simulated elections,” the statement read.

On Saturday, the initiative had announced a list of demands in order to run in the 2018 presidential elections, which included establishing a national elections committee supervised by the judiciary, ending the state of emergency, allowing international organisations to supervise elections, allowing campaign conferences to be held without security permission, and releasing all political detainees as well as defendants in cases of freedom of expression.

However, the Presidential Team added that “despite all negative indicators, the initiative will wait for an appropriate amount of time before announcing its final decision concerning running for [2018] elections.”

In 2016, former presidential adviser and planetary scientist Essam Heggy announced the establishment of the Presidential Team initiative, which would include “several Egyptian revolutionaries” to run in the 2018 elections.

Heggy explained in a statement that the main purpose of this initiative was to end the poor conditions of sordid poverty, ignorance, and disease, through achieving high levels of education and healthcare, in addition to establishing a civil state that employs young experts to achieve progress.

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