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Sabbahi tells supporters: The revolution continues

Nasserist presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi holds a press conference packed with determined revolutionaries, says will appeal election results

Ekram Ibrahim , Sunday 27 May 2012
Hamdeen Sabahi
Presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi talks to the media in a cafe in Cairo May 24, 2012. (Photo: Reuters)
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The third placed candidate in unofficial results from the first round of Egypt's presidential elections, Nasserist Hamdeen Sabbahi, held a press conference at his campaign headquarters, Saturday night.

At the event he announced he would appeal against the results and promised to “build a nation of justice and love, the January 25 republic, which will ultimately be victorious.”

Hundreds of activists attended the press conference to “listen to our leader and to express our support for him.” The crowd chanted with euphoria as Sabbahi gave his speech. “Sabbahi is Egypt’s president,” “Down with military rule,” “We don’t want remnants of the old regime,” and “Hamdeen is a leader from the street” were among the chants.

Supporters of all ages attended the press conference.

Not only Sabbahi’s supporters were there, but also supports moderate Islamist Abdel Moneim Abul-Fotouh. “I believe Hamdeen has a good chance to get into the run-offs and I think he is far better than Shafiq and Morsi,” Ahmed Sabry, 25, a supporter to Abul-Fotouh, told Ahram Online.

Some Abul-Fotouh voters who attended Sabbahi’s press conference said they would only vote for the Muslim Brotherhood's presidential candidate, Mohamed Morsi, if he promises to coordinate with civil figures and to fight for the revolution. Many affirmed that they would not vote for former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq in the second round.

Meanwhile, some of Sabbahi’s supporters plan to protest in Tahrir Square if Sabbahi fails to make it to the second round. Many claim that unofficial results reveal electoral fraud to the benefit of Shafiq. Sabbahi's lawyers will file for Egypt's presidential election to be suspended until allegations of voting irregularities are investigated, and until a pending case against Shafiq running in the presidential race is resolved. "We pledge to bring Shafiq down," chanted Sabbahi supporters.

Streets to the press conference were blocked, giving the event a revolutionary air. “The revolution continues, we are the proof that the revolution is ongoing,” said Mohamed Ismail, a 27-year-old engineer, at the event.

Many Sabbahi supporters expressed deep concern over the current choice between Morsi and Shafiq in the run-offs. Some supporters said they are waiting and see if Sabbahi gives them instructions. Yet he announced that he will not urge the people to vote for this or that candidate in the run-off.

Sabbahi added that he would not accept to be vice-president to the Muslim Brotherhood. The crowd cheered ecstatically at this announcement.

Nasserist candidate Sabbahi, who ran on a pro-revolutionary platform, fought an impressive electoral battle, finishing a not-so-distant third with 21.6 per cent of the votes, according to unofficial figures. In many governorates he dominated. Shafiq came second with 23.7 per cent while Morsi took first place with 25.3 per cent.

Final results are expected Tuesday.

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