Sabbahi, Abul-Fotouh, Ali announce support for 'presidential council' in Tahrir

Ahram Online , Tuesday 5 Jun 2012

Former presidential candidates Hamdeen Sabbahi, Abdel Moneim Abul-Fotouh, Khaled Ali and preacher Mazhar Shaheen support an interim 'presidential council' in lieu of allowing the runoff between Shafiq or Morsi to go on

Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh, Hamdeen Sabbahi, Khaled Ali and Sheikh Mazhar Shaheen in Tahrir Sqyare, Monday(Photo: Bassam Zoghby)

In a trio show of force on Monday evening, former presidential candidates Hamdeen Sabbahi, Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh and Khaled Ali together spoke to the thousands of protesters in Tahrir Square upholding a sit-in since Saturday.

Sabbahi spoke from a makeshift stage in Tahrir where he stated that the revolutionary forces are adamant about forming a presidential council in lieu of allowing one of the two candidates from the runoff elections to win Egypt's presidential race.

The forces in Tahrir reject the continuation of the current elections in light of blatant violations taking place, said Sabbahi.

The most evident violation is the fact that the political Disenfranchisement Law was disregarded, said the Nassrist leader.

If actually implemented, it would eliminate ex-regime member Ahmed Shafiq from the elections. It could mean that Sabbahi, who won the third most amount of votes in the initial round of elections, would be promoted to the runoffs, or on the other hand, that the elections would be held again from scratch.

Proposals for an interim civilian presidential council to manage the nation's affairs have been one of the main demands called for by protesters. The two choices in the runoff elections are Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi or long-time aviation chief, Ahmed Shafiq.

The three former candidates said they hope an interim council pre-empt a return of the Mubarak regime and also achieve a degree of national unity.

Standing next to Sabbahi on the stage, moderate Islamist Abul-Fotouh slammed Egypt's ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), charging them with the setback of the revolution and the "state of deterioration" that has hit the country. He further led the crowds chanting, "Down, down with the military regime" and the "People are all one hand."

Abul-Fotouh echoed the demonstrators' demand for the establishment of "revolutionary courts." This comes in protest to the court decision which gave Mubarak, his sons, the former minister of interior Habib El-Adly and aides what revolutionaries see as light sentences for violent crimes.

Abul-Fotouh did not fail to commend the "respectable political parties which have attempted to protect the revolution."

Khaled Ali announced that the suggestions for the members of the presidential council are expected to be revealed on Friday. He additionally called on all Egyptians to take part in the protests all around the country.

The "Tahrir Preacher" Mazhar Shaheen, also seen with the three former candidates, stressed the need to "protect the revolution."

He also stressed that pro-revolution forces need to remain united at such a crucial moment in time. He stressed the need to see justice for the martyrs of the revolution and to try those who are responsible for their deaths.

Thousands of protesters headed to Tahrir on Saturday, following what many see as a disappointing and politicised verdict of the ousted president Hosni Mubarak.

Mubarak and his former interior minister Habib El-Adly were both slapped with life sentences for their role in killing protesters during last year's January 25 uprising, while six police chiefs were acquitted of all charges against them.

Moreover, in a separate corruption case, Mubarak, his two sons, and Egyptian business tycoon, Hussein Salem, were all found not guilty.

Tuesday is set to see mass protests in the "Justice" million man march.

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