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El-Bastawisi campaign denies his withdrawal from presidency race

Presidential candidate Hisham El-Bastawisi has denied withdrawing his candidacy as part of the united 'national front' he is trying to form

Sarah Mourad , Tuesday 17 Apr 2012
Egyptian presidential candidate Judge Hisham El-Bastawisi (Photo: AP)
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The presidential campaign of candidate Hisham El-Bastawisi has denied reports that the candidate will withdraw from the race in favour of another contender.

A statement released by the campaign on Saturday morning calls for the formation of a "national front" with a number of other presidential candidates. The front will form a presidential council made up of one president and four vice-presidents from the five presidential candidates that receive the most votes in the election.

The statement added that if they win, each member of the front must be committed to the revolution's demand of being president for only one term, and that the dominant party in Parliament must form a coalition government which will represent all political powers, to apply the required programmes to meet the revolutions' demands, in consultation with the presidential council.

Hisham El-Bastawisi is a prominent reformist judge and a well-known political figure who led democratic opposition to the Mubarak regime within the judiciary.

He is known for standing up to Egypt’s autocratic regime, having played a key role in the struggle for judiciary independence in the last decade of Hosni Mubarak’s rule.

He announced his intention to run for the presidency in March 2011, and is the candidate of the left-wing Tagammu party.

El-Bastawisi said in his statement that the proposed presidential council must open the door to discussion with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) in order to establish cooperation and protect national security, until a constitution is drafted for the country.

He also said that the cleansing of the country's institutions from all forms of corruption is one of the front 's main aims. The front is committed to reforming all of the country's institutions on a democratic basis with respect to human rights, religion, and the Egyptian citizen's dignity within and outside of Egypt.

The national front, according to El-Bastawisi, also has to guarantee full independence of the judiciary according to international standards and to reform the police on scientific basis to ensure the security of Egyptian citizens without the violation of human rights, in addition to ensuring media freedom and the establishment of an independent body to manage elections and referendums.

The statement also stressed that the front must certify the independence of universities and freedom of scientific research, in addition to supporting Al-Azhar and the Coptic Orthodox Church so that they both become engines of development and progress.

It also stressed the importance of ensuring personal freedoms, including freedom of demonstrations, strikes, and sit-ins, as well as freedom regarding formation of political parties and organisations "as long as they work peacefully without the violation of ethics and public order."

El-Bastawisi's statement emphasised the front's objectives would be to "develop education and prepare highly-qualified and trained staff in all kinds of professional, technical, and scientific disciplines in order to attract investments and provide free medical services and treatment for all."

It would also work to empower young Egyptians who are the enforcers of the Egyptian revolution through giving them the experience needed to obtain leadership and executive positions.

Egypt's first post-Mubarak presidential elections will take place on 23 and 24 May, with a runoff round – if necessary – slated for 16 and 17 June. The new president will be officially named on 21 June.

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