Presidential hopefuls Sabbahi and Ali meet to discuss tactics

Ahram Online, Friday 21 Feb 2014

Khaled Ali's campaign denies that the two figures discussed one man dropping out and the two campaigns uniting around a single candidate

Presidential hopefuls Sabbahi and Ali
Presidential hopefuls Sabbahi and Ali

Two possible candidates for the upcoming presidential elections, Hamdeen Sabbahi and Khaled Ali, met on Thursday to discuss their campaigns.

Nasserist Sabbahi announced earlier this month that he will run in the elections, expected to take place this spring. Leftist Ali has said he will wait for the anticipated presidential elections law to be issued before deciding whether to run.

Al-Ahram reported that the two men met on Thursday in response to a call by head of the Egyptian Socialist Popular Alliance Party, Abdel-Ghafar Shokr.

The potential candidates have refrained from giving any media statements about the subject of their discussions, but Shokr has said that the two campaigns agreed to coordinate on particularly issues, "especially concerning exerting pressure for the release of the arrested revolutionary youth who face cruel mistreatment.”

The meeting also tackled guarantees for free and fair elections, he added.

Mahmoud El-Sakka, a representative of Sabbahi’s campaign, told Al-Ahram Arabic that members of the two presidential campaigns have agreed to cooperating on various elements in the run-up to the elections, including collecting the voters' signatures required to run.    

According to the draft presidential elections law, a candidate must be endorsed by 20 MPs or at least 25,000 citizens from at least 15 governorates. It also states that a citizen can only endorse one candidate.

Adel Wassily of the Khaled Ali campaign told Al-Ahram that the campaigns had agreed to open channels of communication. Wasily and rights lawyer Malek Adly from Ali's campaign and activists Hossam Moenes and Amr Badr from Sabbahi's campaign will be the points of contact between the two campaigns.

Wassily denied that the meeting's initial purpose was to discuss both campaigns uniting around a single candidate.

Both men ran in the 2012 elections, Sabbahi coming third and Ali seventh. Sabbahi garnered 20.7 percent of the vote in 2012, whereas Ali, a labour activist and lawyer, took 0.58 percent of the votes.

Military chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, whose popularity has significantly risen since he announced the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi on 3 July, is expected to announce his candidacy soon.

Many in Sabbahi's campaign have been calling for a "unified revolution candidate", to represent those who oppose both the Mubarak regime and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Interim President Adly Mansour issued a presidential decree on 26 January stating that the polls must be held within 30 to 90 days from the ratification of Egypt's newly-amended constitution on 18 January.

The presidential electoral commission, the judicial body tasked with supervising the upcoming elections, announced last week that it would not meet on 18 February.

Hamdan Fahmy, secretary-general of the five-member commission, said on Monday that the meeting would be delayed until the presidential elections law is issued.

Fahmy argued that Mansour's decree, as well as Article 230 of the new constitution, mean that the 30 to 90 day window is the timeframe in which the commission must begin preparing for the elections, and not that in which the elections must take place.


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