Aswat Masriya (Cairo)

Egypt: Youngest Candidate Views Himself as People's Candidate

"We will fulfill our dream" is the campaign slogan of Egypt's youngest presidential candidate, Khalid Ali, who declared his decision to run for president and his opposition to the ruling military at a conference that took place at the Journalists' Syndicate on Monday.

Despite his young age, the 41-year old leftist activist enjoys a wide popularity among labor and student movements for his constant strive for social justice through the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights.

Member of the Hisham Mubarak Law Center and founder of the front to protect protesters, Ali who graduated in 1995 is known for his participation in protests and calls for radical reform.

After a moment of silence dedicated to the martyrs, the crowd stood up and enthusiastically sang the national anthem which was followed by the familiar chant of "Down with military-rule!"

In their traditional robes (galabeya), farmers who attended the conference chanted loudly in support of the longtime rights defender who spoke of agricultural reform, promising that serious developments would take place in case of his election.

Although the full presidential program is to be announced at the end of March, Ali gave his supporters a glimpse of what premises the program will be based on.

Stressing that he is not the candidate of any particular political party, Ali insisted that he would gladly accept the support of all those who believe in him. "I am not the revolution's candidate. No one should claim to speak in the name of the revolution, for we all participated and sacrificed", he added.

The potential presidential candidate believes in the importance of being aware of the challenges Egypt is witnessing, "We need to start by admitting that these threats exist", he insisted.

Emphasizing the importance of education, Ali suggested that it is the most fundamental tool to liberate the nation from poverty.

On economic reform, Ali believes that cooperation with the regional powers of Iran and Turkey against Western influence is Egypt's best option. Accusing privatization of being the leading cause for Egypt's unemployment, the labor lawyer was met by piercing cheers when he spoke of reviving the public sector "with or without U.S. consent".

Ali warned of propaganda and state-media manipulation escalating as presidential elections draw nearer and asked the ruling military council to step down completely from the political scene.

"We must stand in solidarity with Syria, but meanwhile, we must also support the Palestinian struggle against the Zionist occupation; we must collaborate with the Palestinian resistance and lift the blockade on Gaza", Ali said.

Prominent revolutionary symbols including bloggers Alaa Abdel Fattah and Wael Abbas, Mama Khadiga and human rights defender, Ahmed Seif attended the conference.

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