By Safaa Abdoun
CAIRO: Amid much fanfare, presidential hopeful Hazem Salah Abou Ismail submitted his candidacy registration documents on Friday.
A massive human chain lined the streets across the capital, starting from Asad Ibn El-Forat Mosque in Dokki through Sixth October Bridge and Salah Salem Road in Heliopolis where the Presidential Election Committee (PEC) is located.
The ultra-conservative Salafi candidate has collected 150,000 powers of attorney to submit along with other required documentation, according to Mostafa Fahmy, Abou Ismail’s personal assistant.
Presidential hopefuls who are not members of established parties represented in parliament must either submit the endorsements of 30 parliamentarians, 30,000 eligible voters from at least 15 provinces or secure the backing of a political party represented by a minimum of one seat in parliament in order to qualify as candidates.
“The idea of the human chain or march from Dokki to Heliopolis was that of Abou Ismail’s supporters who wanted to make a statement about how much they love and support their candidate,” Fahmy said.
“It is also for transparency; we did not buy or fabricate those powers of attorney, as the number of people on street exceed the number of proxies by a landslide,” he added.
“[Abou Ismail] is one of us, he is decisive and will guide the nation through this period, he does not have any personal agenda like other candidates running in the elections,” said Fahmy.
Lining the streets with posters and pictures, Abou Ismail’s supporters appeared to be from different walks of life, not necessarily the typical Salafi with the long beard or women wearing a full face veil.
Some supporters were in T-shirts carrying the candidate’s picture or holding blue balloons, the official color of the campaign.
“His slogan is ‘Living with Dignity’ and that is what the Egyptian citizen lacked in the past 30 years and what we believe Abou Ismail will bring back,” said Abdel Moniem Ibrahim, 43, who was carrying a poster and waiting for the candidate outside the PEC headquarters.
Young men and women were there to show their support for the candidate.
“He is not in any way affiliated with the corrupt [former] regime and he has a sound electoral program which works on freedom and social justice, the two demands people gave up their lives for in the revolution,” said Noha Mohamed, 28.
The thousands filling the streets of the capital Friday in support of Abou Ismail is a wake up call to the others, said Talal Mujahed from the campaign.
“This is the reality on the ground, this is just a glimpse of his supporters,” he said.
Campaign posters and banners of Abou Ismail are everywhere, filling the streets and flaunting the wealth of his backers.
On the other hand, there were also passersby who frowned on such massive support.
“Is he [Abou Ismail] a true representation of the Egypt … Egypt with its modest approach to Islam, its love for arts and culture and its tolerance?” asked Manar Abdel Hamid, 54.
Others questioned the funding of the campaign.
“We want to know where he gets the funds for all this campaigning,” said Shokry Essam, 57.
A massive human chain lined the streets across the capital, starting from Asad Ibn El-Forat Mosque in Dokki through Sixth October Bridge and Salah Salem Road in Heliopolis. (Daily News Egypt Photo/Hassan Ibrahim)