Presidential hopeful Hamdeen Sabbahi has announced that he will run in upcoming presidential elections regardless if Egypt's top military leader General Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi does so as well.
“I am the only presidential candidate so far," Sabbahi said in an interview on private satellite channel Al-Hayat TV on Saturday. "No one else has declared his candidacy in Egypt except me.”
Sabbahi added that he had personally told the defense minister that he would run for president whether or not El-Sisi did.
El-Sisi stated earlier this month that he would consider running for the presidency if it was at the “request of the people.”
Sabbahi, founder of the Nasserist opposition political party the Egyptian Popular Current, acknowledged that the Egyptian army has played an important and honourable role in the revolution and that both El-Sisi and the army were enjoying enormous popular support. Yet he insisted that seeking power through the presidency was a dangerous move for the army and not in the revolution's best interests.
The danger, he said, was the dilemma posed by the army fielding a candidate. What would happen, he wondered, if that candidate became president and then failed the nation?
Would the army support its candidate or the interests of the people?
Sabbahi gave three reasons for his decision to run for president. The first was honouring the ideals of the revolutions of 25 January 2011 and 30 June 2013. The second was to make sure that the corruption and repression of the regimes of deposed leaders Hosni Mubarak and Mohamed Morsi do not return again. The third reason was to implement the policies of social justice.
Sabbahi's statements come amidst unverified but widely-believed rumours that upcoming presidential elections will be held before the parliamentary ones, setting the stage for what many say will be El-Sisi's eventual presidency.
Sabbahi garnered 21.5 % of the popular vote in the 2012 presidential elections, coming in third place behind Mubarak-era official Ahmed Shafiq and eventual winner Morsi.
Most of the political forces that supported Sabbahi in 2012 have already announced their support of El-Sisi should he decide to run this year.