What's behind Sabahi's ‘real alternative’ initiative?

Ahram Online , Wednesday 9 Mar 2016

A Wednesday meeting between various Egyptian political figures will discuss the former presidential candidate’s controversial political initiative

Hamdeen Sabahi (Photo: Al Ahram)

Amid the controversy caused by Egyptian Nasserite figure and former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi over his new initiative dubbed "the real alternative," some political powers have decided to discuss the move in a meeting on Wednesday.

Medhat El-Zahed, the acting president of El-Tahalof El-Shaabi Party and member of the Democratic Coalition presidential bureau, told Ahram Online that they are meeting on Wednesday "to determine how this initiative can be executed and to see which parties, syndicates, and unions we can ask to join it."

Last Friday, Sabahi released a statement calling on the Egyptian people to form the "real alternative."

The precise goal of Sabahi's initiative remains unclear, but it is suspected by many of targeting the president’s post. Sabahi has reportedly rejected this claim, while other politicians say that the initiative’s aims, as well as its method of execution, must be identified and elaborated over time.

Sabahi's statement elaborated, "In these decisive days of Egypt's history, when we are engaged in a fierce war against bloody terrorism, devastating corruption, and the enemies of positive change, many of those who chose to fight for the sake of Egyptians' happiness and freedom found that they are in need of establishing an alternative.

"[This can be accomplished] by forming a front and a social network, which represents all national and civil powers aiming for unity and facing the errors of the past," Sabahi's statement explained.

"The sick and fragile nations, which stand on the threshold of failure and perhaps temporary death, are those that lack the ability to produce alternatives and instead deal with one party and only one man.

“Unfortunately, Egypt is currently experiencing this as people have only one choice identified by the ruling regime.”

The statement was signed by the so-called “Preparatory Committee for Uniting Civil and National Powers," which is composed of Sabahi's political group Al-Karama Party and the popular current.

It was also signed by other popular figures, such as scholar Ammar Ali Hassan and leftist economist Abdel Khalaq Farouk.

In May 2014, a few weeks before he lost the presidential elections to his then rival Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, Sabahi established the Democratic Coalition composed of some left wing political parties, such as El-Tahalof El-Shaabi (The Popular Coalition), El-Ishteraki El-Masri (Egyptian Socialist), the Egyptian Communist Party, and the Tagammu Party.

The coalition also included Sabahi's Al-Karama Party and the popular current, which comprises liberal, leftist, and Nasserist figures.

But many wondered about the difference between the new initiative and the previous coalitions formed by Sabahi, and whether the so-called "real alternative" will be represented by him or not.

El-Zahed, the acting president of El-Tahalof El-Shaabi, told Ahram Online that the initiative so far only represents Al-Karma Party and the popular current.

"Sabahi's idea is good but it needs more elaboration especially as its purposes are a bit similar to the two coalitions formed by him before (The popular current and the Democratic Coalition)," he said.

"I think that the main idea behind it is to form a new front to help introduce alternatives for many political and economic issues, depending on the political parties' views," he said.

On Sunday, TV Host Amr Adeeb who presents Al Qahera Al Youm's show aired on Al Youm private channel, said that he spoke to Sabahi over the phone and the latter vowed that the initiative is “only an attempt to bring civil power together and he is not calling for early presidential elections.”

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