Sabbahi may still run for president despite potential competition with El-Sisi

Ahram Online, Saturday 11 Jan 2014

Nasserist figure Sabbahi says his decision to run in this year's presidential elections will not depend on whether General El-Sisi nominates himself as a candidate; the latter said hours earlier he might run for president

Hamdeen Sabahi
Leftist leader Hamdeen Sabahi speaks during an interview with Reuters in Cairo, April 29, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)

Nasserist politician Hamdeen Sabbahi said on Saturday that he may still run in the coming presidential elections, stressing that his decision to compete will not depend on whether army chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi also runs.

Sabbahi said in a televised interview with MBC Egypt that he still stands by his decision to run in the presidential race if there is consensus on his candidacy from "the revolutionary forces." 

He reiterated that he is also willing to back another candidate who gains consensus, if he agrees with their political programme, their presidential team and their supporters.

The Nasserist figure said he would not back a presidential candidate whose team included members of the Muslim Brotherhood. 

A founding member of the Egyptian Popular Current, Sabbahi came third in the 2012 presidential elections, after the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi (eventual winner) and Mubarak-era politician Ahmed Shafiq.

El-Sisi, who is heard of Egypt’s armed forces, said publically on Sunday that he would run in the elections, slated for mid-2014, "if the people request it."

Sabbahi stated that he is the only candidate who has "linked his candidacy with the goals of the revolution and not with whether El-Sisi will be running for the presidential post."

He warned against "Mubarak-era corrupt [sympathisers] who want to hijack the 30 June revolution."

Mass protests against the presidency of Mohamed Morsi took place on 30 June last year, triggering his ouster.

Sabbahi had earlier said he would back a presidential bid by El-Sisi, who was a "popular hero,” but in December appeared to change his mind, stating thathe would prefer the army chief stick to military matters, but that he would respect political forces if they wanted him to run.

The Egyptian Popular Current has already launched a campaign to promote Sabbahi as the "revolution's candidate."

Parliamentary and presidential elections are expected to take place by the summer of 2014, as detailed by the post-Morsi roadmap.

A referendum on the recently amended constitution is due to take place on 14 and 15 January.

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