CAIRO: Popular figure and founder of Al-Karama Party, Hamdeen Sabahi, announced the official launch of his presidential campaign during a conference Wednesday at the Journalists’ Syndicate.
Under the slogan "One of Us," Sabahi’s campaign has an ambitious goal of ranking Egypt eight among the world’s 10 strongest economies by 2020 and establishing a democratic regime that respects civil freedoms, social justice and equal distribution of wealth and a foreign policy based on national interests.
"It is my pleasure at this moment, the most glorious in our history after the success of the revolution … to announce my candidacy in the upcoming presidential elections," Sabahi said.
Named the "popular" candidate for presidency, Sabahi said that he is running independently in the elections and doesn’t represent Al-Karama Party.
"I announce my candidacy because I believe, like you, that a great revolution like January 25 must not have humble goals; it’s time to revive the country," he said.
In his primary program, Sabahi said that he would issue a new constitution, diminish presidential authorities, allow all public freedoms, ensure complete separation between judicial, executive and legislative authorities and give the People’s Assembly power over the national budget and legislation.
On the economic front, Sabahi called for reviving the cooperative sector to benefit skilled, informal labor and that the priority would be achieving social justice and creating an adequate middle class that will lead to development.
He said that farmers will be given more attention, and workers will be given more freedom to form independent unions.
If elected, Sabahi promised to put the peace treaty with Israel up for a public referendum, although he personally refuses it, and said that exporting gas to Israel will halt immediately according to a court ruling.
"Egypt shall return to its Arab sphere to regain its leading position in the Arab world and develop relations with strategic neighbors like Turkey and Iran," he said.
"Whether you believe in Arab nationalism or not, we must realize that now is the time for blocs and coalitions and that our interest are with Arabs," Sabahi, a member of the Nasserist Party, added.
A common Arab market, he said, would help Egypt achieve the goal of becoming one of the 10 strongest economies in the world and developing relations with African states is the solution to the Nile water crisis.
His campaign will accept donations for funding and he is ready to debate any potential candidates.
He called on all experts and think tanks who agree with his ideology to participate in outlining a detailed program for his campaign.