Three presidential hopefuls mull 'consensus candidate' for Egypt's embattled left

Ahram Online , Monday 7 May 2012

In effort to avoid splitting the leftist vote, Sabbahi, El-Hariri and Bastawisi hold Monday meeting aimed at reaching agreement on single leftist presidential candidate

Bastawisi , Hariri and Sabbahi
Bastawisi , Hariri and Sabbahi (Photo:Ahram Online)

Egyptian presidential candidates Hamdeen Sabbahi, Abul-Ezz El-Hariri and Hisham Bastawisi plan to hold a meeting on Monday in hopes of reaching agreement on a single presidential contender to represent Egypt's leftist political forces, sources close to the three men's electoral campaigns told Ahram Online. Egypt's first post-Mubarak presidential poll will be held on 23 and 24 May.

"There are expectations that El-Hariri and Bastawisi might withdraw from the race in favour of Sabbahi," said a source from the latter's campaign. "El-Hariri and Bastawisi will probably not be made vice presidents if Sabbahi wins, since Sabbahi has promised to have three vice presidents – a woman, a Christian and a Nubian."  

The source added, however, that a compromise deal would likely give El-Hariri and Bastawisi high government positions in the event of a Sabbahi victory.

Monday's scheduled sit-down will not be the trio's first meeting. The three men have met several times in recent weeks in an effort to agree on a consensus candidate to avoid splitting the leftist vote in an election that currently features 13 candidates.

Informed sources told Al-Ahram's Arabic-language website that Monday's meeting could be decisive in this regard. Not only will the three men strive to agree on a single candidate, the sources noted, but they will also try to reach agreement on a single political programme.

Al-Ahram's Arabic-language website has published a draft of the proposed consensus programme, covering issues ranging from democratic transition and economic policy to national security, foreign relations and human rights.

Sabbahi, El-Hariri and Bastawisi all espouse nationalist, leftist and pro-revolution worldviews.

Monday's meeting will come only one day before the expiration of the period in which approved presidential contenders can formally withdraw their candidacies.

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