26 July 2012

Egypt: Social Justice Package, If Elected President - Sabahi

Photo: Aswat Masriya
Ex-presidential candidate, Hamdeen Sabahi.

Ex-presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi says if he was elected president, he would have immediately introduced a package of social justice; increase in pensions, dropping of farmers' debts, increase in minimum wages, setting a maximum wage (30 times more than the minimum) and unemployment benefits.

Sabahi who came in third place in the first round of Egypt's first competitive presidential elections is a lifelong activist and supporter of former President Gamal Abdel Nasser.

In an interview with Al-Masry Al-Youm, Sabahi suggested that if elected president, the poor would have rallied behind him, unlike Mursi who began his post by engaging in political battles and not accomplishing anything that benefits the people. He added that his first visit would have been to Nile Basin countries, not to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The Nasserite explained that he refrained from attending Mursi's inauguration speech despite receiving an invitation, to maintain his stance of not supporting the Muslim Brotherhood president.

Sabahi criticized protests that broke out against the administrative court's ruling to dissolve parliament and the constituent assembly, tasked with rewriting the constitution.

"We are establishing a state through force... letting a group exert pressure on the judiciary and the people." Sabahi said. He added that he was surprised to see the protesters hold high posters of the president, insisting that Mursi's failure to respond to this may indicate bias. He urged him to make his stance clear on the subject.

Sabahi expressed his intention to found a popular movement consisted of workers, farmers and middle class citizens who believe in a project not an ideology. A group who needs organization and not an organized leadership who wishes to meet the goals of the revolution and not take Egypt back to the 20's or surrender their moderate religion to a political party.

He added that this popular base would not oppose anyone but backs justice and equality. "We will judge the extent of our success or failure by our ability to reach every street, every village and every lane in Egypt", Sabahi said, adding that they are currently working on combining hundreds of organizations in every village to provide their neighborhoods with services.

He insisted on the importance of establishing a wide popular base for the next elections.

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