‘Revolution’s Candidate’ campaign throws weight behind Nasserist leader

Randa Ali , Monday 25 Nov 2013

Nasserist leader Hamdeen Sabbahi chosen by Revolution's Candidate campaign as potential presidential candidate to represent revolutionary current

Father of revolutionary icon Gaber Salah AKA Jika speaks during the 'Revolution's Candidate' press conference, 25 November (Photo: Ahram Online)

Former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi is willing to run in the upcoming presidential elections if a consensus is reached by political forces regarding his candidacy, the "Revolution's Candidate" campaign announed Monday.

If revolutionary forces agree to support another individual Sabbahi “would be honoured to back that candidate”, the statement added. 

The announcement of the Nasserist leader was read on Monday afternoon by the “Revolution’s Candidate” campaign, amid celebratory chants and applause.

The campaign has been running for almost two months, and was officially launched on Monday under the slogan, “The revolution will definitely rule.”

Members of the campaign belong to the Egyptian Popular current, formed by Sabbahi in September 2012, after he came third in the post-revolution presidential elections. 

Samah Amer, a member of the popular current, told Ahram Online that Sabbahi was voted as a potential candidate by members of the group and the Nasserist Al-Karama party.

“This campaign is for the dreams of our martyrs: Khaled Said, El-Gendy, Jika, El-Hosseiny Abu-Deif… those who were martyred for the revolution to obtain power through a civilian president.”

“The campaign is also the dream of historic fighters and leaders such as: Ahmed Orabi, Mostafa Kamel and Gamal Abdel-Nasser,” said Amr Badr campaign coordinator.

He went on to explain that the reason behind choosing Sabbahi was mainly due to his long history in struggling for economic and social freedoms and the rights of the poor.

Badr further expressed his optimism regarding Sabbahi’s chances of winning, saying proof of his popularity is the 2012 elections.

Fifty-nine year-old Sabbahi, described as the dark horse of the 2012 presidential elections, came third, behind Mubarak-era PM Ahmed Shafiq and Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsi.

The campaign further called on all revolutionary forces to hold a serious dialogue regarding their stance towards Sabbahi's candidacy.

It also urged General Commander of the Armed Forces Abdel-Fatah El-Sisi not to run for presidency.

El-Sisi's popularity soared following the ouster of Mohamed Morsi on 3 July, and the general has been called on by many to run for the presidency. While he initially announced that he does not seek power, El-Sisi more recently said that the possibility is open.

Organisers stressed that the goal of the campaign is to counter the state of polarisation and division among the people, and to “learn from the mistakes of the past” through uniting behind one candidate representing the January 25 revolution and its goals.

“We don’t want to repeat our mistakes; everyone abstained from becoming a leader of the revolution, we now need to unite behind one leader so we will not to be fooled or allow Mubarak’s men or the Muslim Brotherhood to come back,” said Salah, father of revolutionary icon Gaber Salah ("Jika") who was killed during clashes with security forces in November 2012.

According to Salah, his slain 16-year old son was a member of Sabbahi’s presidential campaign last summer. He added that all of his family voted for Sabbahi during the first round of the elections and refused to participate in the runoffs between Shafiq and Morsi.

“I was not going to choose between dying with poison or fire,” added Salah.

Mother of Ahmed Salah, who lost her son during the second Mohamed Mahmoud clashes in 2011, stressed her hope for retribution.

“A few years ago Sabbahi promised that he wouldn't enter the presidential palace without the families of martyrs. My hope is that he will bring us back the rights of our children,” added Salah’s mother.

Meanwhile, Amaly Farag, one of the coordinators vowed that if Sabahi breaks his promises and does not meet their expectations, they will become his fiercest enemies.

Several attendees and campaign members explained their stance on controversial matters.

Campaign coordinator Amr Badr stressed that they vehemently rejected the recently issued 'protest law,' describing it as a deviation from the principles of the January 25 revolution.

Egypt’s interim president approved on Sunday the protest law, which outlines in detail the conditions that must be met before a protest, political meeting or march is held. It also lists the penalties for violations of the law.

The law has been met with fierce criticism by political forces, who view it as a mean to supress popular movements.

“There is only one way to end the revolution and that is to enforce justice. Until justice is achieved the revolution will continue forever,” said Jika’s father, who slammed the new legislation as an anti-revolution law.

The campaign also refutes article 174 in the 2012 constitution, which allows military trials for civilians in situations that “harm the armed forces.”

According to organisers, the article has been appealed by the legal committee of the campaign’s office in the Nile delta governorate of Beheira.

The campaign also critiques calls by the interim-government for the removal of state subsidies, planned to take place gradually starting in 2014.

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