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TV anchor calls Sisi 'pig-headed' over unpopular law

Saad hosts the late night talk show Akhir al-Nahar ["The end of the day"] [Facebook]

Date of publication: 21 August, 2015

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An Egyptian TV presenter warned the president could have the same fate as Hosni Mubarak, whose leadership was toppled in 2011 following mass protests.
An Egyptian pro-government TV host slammed President Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi this week over the decision to go forward with an unpopular piece of new legislation.

Mahmoud Saad said on his late night talk show that Sisi was being "pig-headed" for pushing ahead with the Civil Service Act, after thousands of civil servants gathered in Cairo to protest against the law last week.

"This is called being pig-headed. Go on ignore [the protests] all you want but it won't work," said the prominent anchor.

     You've seen what happened to the pig-headed people who ruled us in the past. We've seen the outcome of stubbornness
- Mahmoud Saad
"You've seen what happened to the pig-headed people who ruled us in the past. We've seen the outcome of stubbornness," Saad said, in a clear reference to Mubarak.

"There's no room for stubbornness when ruling a country, there are no rulers on earth who rule their countries by divine right," he added.

Saad said legal experts had expressed concerns over the act and that the government should look into these issues and declare whether they are valid or not.

The Civil Service Act was passed in March, aiming to reform Egypt's notoriously inefficient bureaucratic system - but not everyone has been enthusiastic about the bill.

"There are no guarantees for the employee [in the law]. If my employer doesn't like me, he can easily fire me," Tariq al-Kashif, a civil servant opposed to the act, told al-Ahram.

"The law is problematic, the government is disregarding public sector employees. Ten years from now, my basic salary will be the same, taking inflation into account and increases in prices," the tax authority officer added.

On Wednesday, 27 workers' unions threatened to hold a "million man march" in protest against the law, after the Cabinet announced the executive regulations to the Civil Service Act would be released within days - and there was no going back.

"The act is a cornerstone of the government's administrative reform agenda," a Cabinet statement read.

Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab struck a concilliatory tone on Tuesday, however, following a meeting with aggrieved civil servants and the finance minister, saying he would take public servants' demands for changes to the act under advisement.

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