9 May , 2014
“Nasser” – Key Word In Egyptian Presidential Elections
Campaign volunteers of presidential hopeful Hamdeen Sabahi carry boxes containing thousands of endorsements at the election commission office in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, April 19, 2014. ((Photo : AP/NEWSis)
A few years ago, and for almost half a century back, going to the polls was not a regular habit for Egyptians. The face of one ultimate president, Nasser, Sadat, and Mubarak, was shading the backdrop of the stage. So, Egyptians believed that even if they tried to choose an opponent to the authoritative president, the result would be the same, and the ruling president would remain, forever.
But what happened in January 25, 2011 changed the game completely. Now, Egyptians know that their votes are counted and heard, and so they have visited the polls more times in the past 3 years than they did in the past 30 years.
The Presidential Election Commission (PEC), the five-member judicial body tasked with supervising the presidential poll, announced the arrangements including the scheduled steps, beginning with opening the doors for candidate registration to the date of announcing the name of the new president on 26th May 2014.
Egypt’s military chief Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi speaks in a nationally televised speech, announcing that he will run for president, in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, March 26, 2014. (Photo : AP/NEWSis)
Al-Sisi to run for Presidency
Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi, former army chief and minister of defense, had to resign from his post and register his name on the voter list in order to be eligible to run for office.
The Presidential Election Commission has indicated that “candidacy endorsement forms” will be available in all public notary offices before the door to registration is officially opened. “Hopeful candidates will have to use these forms to collect the 25,000 endorsements from 15 governorates that are required. Staff at public notary offices have received training on how to certify candidacy endorsement forms and how to help citizens change their designated polling stations.”
The former head of the armed forces and minister of defence Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi, while announcing his formal resignation from the Armed Forces and his intention to stand in the forthcoming presidential elections, said: “I stand before you for the last time in the uniform that I have had the great honour of wearing for the last 45 years since I joined the military in high school,” Al-Sisi said at the beginning of a 15-minute statement that was televised on all state-run Egyptian TV channels as well as by private and satellite channels.
In this Saturday, May 26, 2012 file photo, Egyptian presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq speaks to the media during a press conference at his office in Cairo, Egypt. (Photo : AP/NEWSis)
Another prominent candidate, Sabahi
“I shall always consider myself to be a soldier in the service of the nation and will always put myself at the disposal of the people in any position they may ask of me,” he added.
Tens of millions of Egyptians who demonstrated in the streets and squares of Egypt since June 2013 were calling for Al-Sisi to enter the presidential race to protect them from the terrorist attacks committed by the Muslim Brotherhood(MB) members and their allies who lost the trust of the moderate majority.
The MB wanted to apply the radical thoughts in the name of Islam, something rejected by people who did not want to replace the political dictatorship with a social and religious one. Now, Egyptians need stability, security, and economic progress, that is, three challenges that Al-Sisi and Hamdeen need to meet.
The spokesman of the other prominent presidential candidate, Hamdeen Sabahi, told the local newspaper, Al-Ahram Weekly, that “the Nasserist candidate’s campaign opened the door for donations”. (Nasserist is a word to describe the political movement following the steps of Gamal Abdul-Nasser, the well-known former president of Egypt.)
Hamdeen Sabahi is a politician, journalist and poet. He is currently the leader of the Egyptian Popular Current. He is well known as an opposition activist during Sadat and Mubarak regimes. Sabahi was jailed 17 times during their presidencies for political dissidence. He supported and participated in the two recent revolutions in Egypt.
Sabahi entered the 2012 Egyptian presidential race in which he finished third place with 21.5 per cent of the vote, trailing the second place candidate Ahmed Shafiq by a margin of 700,000 votes. Sabahi founded the Nasserist Karama (Dignity) Party in 1996. Sabahi has attracted the support of several leading Nasserists as well.
Hundreds of Egyptian protesters took to the streets, some clashing with security forces, to protest the decision by former military chief Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi to run in the upcoming presidential elections, in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, March 28, 2014. (Photo : AP/NEWSis)
Ouster of MB brings security
The Muslim Brotherhood in Libya, Sudan, and Qatar are all involved in controlling the forces that smuggle arms into the hands of the extremist fundamentalists, who were welcomed by the former president of Egypt, a MB man Mohammed Morsi, to settle and work in Sinai. Hundreds of them were shifted safely from Afghanistan and Gaza to have their own working units, which are used currently to attack the Egyptian Army. Morsi was keen to offer them that safe shield in order to use them later for spreading the radical ideas of the MB.
Christians in Egypt started to feel secure about Egypt’s future after the ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood. They consider the former Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi their guarding angel, as they did not want a president to rule their country on a religious basis. Pope Tawadros II called Al-Sisi’s candidacy a “national duty”, and said that many Egyptians see the field marshal as a saviour: the hero of the 30 June Revolution. In a televised statement, the pope passed a grim verdict on the uprisings of the Arab Spring, saying that what they brought to the region was a long “winter” and the opportunity for “evil hands” to split the nation apart.
It is worth noting that the word “Nasser” is the common magical keyword between the two candidates! The pro-Hamdeens consider their candidate’s ideas to be following the steps of the late beloved president, who offered social justice for the majority of Egyptians, while the Pro-Sisis believe that their candidate is another Nasser, as he comes from a military background, and he is regaining the support of unified Arabs, especially that of moderate UAE, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, who have united in fighting terrorism and extremists.
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