Freeing prisoners of conscience my top priority: Farid Zahran

Ahram Online , Aya Salah , Wednesday 4 Oct 2023

Farid Zahran, chairman of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party and potential presidential candidate, stated that releasing the prisoners of conscience is one of his top priorities and a fundamental step toward achieving democracy in Egypt.

Farid Zahran


Zahran made his remarks during a press conference on Tuesday detailing his campaign platform.

During the conference, Zahran announced that he appointed Ashraf Helmy as his campaign director and that the campaign will have three spokespeople: Khaled Daoud, Amira Saber, and Ahmed Abu Al-Wafa.

In September, Zahran announced his readiness to run in Egypt's upcoming presidential election after gaining the support of the majority of the party's higher council.

At the time, his party released a statement acknowledging the government's good gesture of releasing a "limited number" of activists from prison. It added, however, that this is insufficient to guarantee an atmosphere of integrity and fairness for the presidential election.

According to Zahran, he has received 28 endorsements from members of the parliament, including party members, independent MPs, and "members of friendly parties," as well as members of the Justice Party.

"The upcoming presidential elections present an opportunity for a peaceful and secure transition, and citizens deserve democratic elections," Zahran emphasized.

He also added that the authorities must demonstrate neutrality in the presidential elections to facilitate the country's progress and reform.

Furthermore, Zahran stressed that he aims to represent Egyptian democracy itself.

He also added that the Egyptian public sphere should be liberated and that unions and civil associations should be brought back.

"I am a civil democratic alternative and not an advocate for a zero-sum conflict. We will not change overnight, and we need a long path for change," Zahran stated, calling for the restoration of the 30 June alliance and long-term political and economic reform.

Addressing Egypt's economy, Zahran emphasized the importance of liberating it from the government's tight control, which has discouraged both foreign and domestic businesses from investing in the country. 

He called for creating more opportunities for the private sector to compete in the market.

Presidential elections marathon

On Monday, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi officially announced that he will run for a third term.

Apart from El-Sisi, seven political figures have revealed their plans to run for president.

These candidates are Abdel-Sanad Yamama, head of the Wafd Party; Fouad Badrawi, a former MP and member of the Wafd Party's Higher Council; Hazem Omar, head of the People's Republican Party; Ahmed El-Fadaly, chairman of the Democratic Peace Party;  Ahmed Tantawi, a former MP and former head of the leftist Al-Karama (Dignity) Party; Gameela Ismail, chairwoman of the liberal Dostour (Constitution) Party, and Farid Zahran, chairman of the leftist Egyptian Social Democratic Party. 

According to the National Elections Authority (NEA), candidates seeking to run in the 2024 presidential election can submit for candidacy from 5 to 14 October 2023.

Voting in Egypt will take place 10-12 December, with Egyptians abroad casting their votes 1-3 December.

The Egyptian constitution mandates candidates to secure endorsements from at least 20 MPs from the House of Representatives or 25,000 registered voters from at least 15 governorates, with a minimum of 1,000 endorsements from each governorate.

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