During an open discussion on Tuesday at Alexandria’s University Professors Club, presidential contender Abul-Ezz El-Hariri asserted that he was the “most suitable” candidate due to his considerable political experience.
El-Hariri, an elected MP and long-time political activist, is running on the Socialist Popular Alliance Party (SPA)’s ticket. He claims to have 45 years of experience in the field of politics, stressing his “long history of patriotism.”
During Tuesday’s discussion, El-Hariri said that his first move as president would be to implement an obligatory pricing scheme for all strategic commodities with the aim of alleviating soaring inflation. This, he said, was because most Egyptians currently spend at least half their monthly incomes on basic commodities due to the skyrocketing cost of living.
El-Hariri also weighed in on the on-going crisis between the Muslim Brotherhood and Egypt’s ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which he described as a “tug of war” between the two parties.
He asserted that there had been a “clear deal from the start” between the SCAF, the Brotherhood and Salafist parties to allow the military council to relinquish executive power without being held accountable for its crimes against protestors and its failure to retrieve monies stolen from Egypt’s public purse by members of the former regime.
The Brotherhood and military council have recently been at loggerheads over the SCAF-appointed government of Prime Minister Kamal El-Ganzouri. The Brotherhood has demanded that the government step down, but the council has rejected the request.
El-Hariri also spoke about the current crisis over Egypt’s recently-formed constituent assembly tasked with drafting a new constitution, from which several liberal and leftist members have recently resigned to protest the assembly’s large proportion of Islamist members. If the assembly is ultimately deemed illegitimate, said El-Hariri, then parliament would also lose credibility and risk returning the SCAF to power.
El-Hariri noted that several public figures had already announced plans to form an “alternate” constituent assembly. He likened this to 2010 parliamentary elections under the Mubarak regime, after which several frustrated opposition politicians decided to create their own “alternate” parliament.
El-Hariri went on to say that he had filed a lawsuit at Egypt’s Supreme Court against Article 28 of the constitutional declaration issued by the SCAF in March of last year. The controversial article states that the Higher Presidential Election Commission (HPEC) represents Egypt’s highest judicial authority, the decisions of which cannot be appealed.
A socialist and labour activist, El-Hariri claimed to have a “long history of promoting social justice,” noting that he had always been critical of Egypt’s parliamentary and presidential elections, which were regularly rigged under the former regime.
El-Hariri also stated that he would not mind bowing out of the presidential race in favour of another like-minded candidate, as long as the candidate in question enjoyed the backing of Egypt’s diverse political forces.