Sabahi campaign on hold in wake of Tahrir protests

Ahram Online, Tuesday 22 Nov 2011

Presidential hopeful Hamdeen Sabahi calls for a national salvation government, places his campaign on hold in solidarity with Tahrir protests

Hamdeen Sabahi
Hamdeen Sabahi, leader of Al-Karama party and presidential candidate (Photo: Reuters)

Presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi has put his elections campaign on hold in the wake of the deadly crackdown on protesters in Tahrir Square. He adds his voice to the calls for a national salvation government and an immediate timetable for the transfer of power from Egypt's ruling military junta to an elected president. 

It was on OnTV’s talk show, Baladna bel Masry, that the presidential hopeful announced he is freezing all campaign activity until all the demands of the people have been met and a date is set for presidential elections. 

He said that what prompted him to take this move is Egypt’s current disorder as well as his desire (and that of his campaigners) to press for the demands of the January 25 Revolution to be met. 

The only way to solve the current situation, he added, is to form a national ‘salvation government,’ as it’s come to be known, which includes all political currents - not a coalition of technocrats.

The main objectives of this government, he said, would be to provide food, security and democracy for Egyptians. 

A complete turnaround of purpose needs to take place in the Ministry of Interior, he stressed, where the ministry should protect the people instead of protecting the system.

Other demands that Sabahi listed include: the immediate abolition of military trials; parliamentary elections to take place as scheduled on 28 November; and for Egypt’s ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) to transfer power by April or mid-2012 at the latest. 

The first step, says Sabahi, is for SCAF to accept the resignation of Prime Minister Sharaf’s government, submitted Monday night. He added that the country will be in a bad situation if the military junta does not accept the government's resignation. 

Although he also blames the military for poor management of the post-revolution transitional period (along with Egyptian protesters in Tahrir), he is concerned about the violence peaceful protesters were met with and can relate to the people's desire for the military council to be removed – he rejects the people's demand.

He concludes that the only way to solve the problems is to form a national salvation government with full authorities. 

Sabahi pointed out that the ruling military junta seems to have forgotten that the people are the ones who gave the armed forces the power to rule, implying they can lose their legitmacy.

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