By Amir Makar
CAIRO: Thousands gathered on Monday night to celebrate the acceptance of presidential candidate Abdel-Moneim Abol Fotoh’s application by the Presidential Election Committee.
“We can realize our dreams with the cooperation of the great Egyptian people,” Abol Fotoh said in his speech, pledging to make use of Egypt’s “most valuable source of wealth”, human potential, if he is elected.
“Let us work as groups not as individuals, the era of the inspiring president and all-knowing leader is over,” he said.
Abol Fotoh outlined several other pledges in his election program, including resorting to advisors in all fields and specializations, focusing on social justice by establishing a minimum income standard, and reequipping the Egyptian military from other sources in order not to be completely dependent on the US.
He also pledged the total fulfilment of security by the first hundred days of his election and the retrial of all those who were subject to military trials since the 2011 uprising.
Especially focusing on youth and human development, Abol Fotoh vowed to appoint a young vice-president, one who is under 45, and to set the same standard for 50 percent of administrative posts in the country.
Other promises on the election program include establishing an independent entity to combat all forms of discrimination, ensuring the inclusion of all Egyptian segments of society in educational curricula (such as Coptic and Nubian history), and passing a law to regulate the building of houses of worship.
The latter point is emphasized in the program by diverting the issue of the construction of churches to local authorities rather than the security apparatus.
The celebration included a short documentary charting Abol Fotoh’s history and biography, along with the statements of the guest speakers who attended.
“This is a man whose history of struggle stands as witness,” commented guest speaker and prominent media personality Hamdy Kandil. “He was with us in the middle of the revolution … and he’s not one of the ‘fake’ candidates.”
“After yesterday’s surprise all [revolutionaries] must support the true candidate of the revolution, and I call upon everyone to meet and agree on one candidate,” Kandil added, in a reference to the Muslim Brotherhood’s endorsement of MB leader Khairat Al-Shater.
Kandil warned that “the revolution [was] otherwise collapsing” if the political forces could not rally around a single person such as Abol Fotoh.
Other guests included the Muslim Brotherhood’s Kamal El-Helbawy who resigned in objection to the MB’s U-turn regarding the presidential election bid, Wasat Party chairman Aboul Ela Madi, media personalities Abdel Rahman Youssef El-Qaradawy (the son of Sheikh Youssef Qaradawy), Dina Abdel-Rahman, and the Coptic Church’s Red Sea diocese agent Danial Al-Suryani.
El-Helbawy notably criticized the “rotten personalities that wanted to split the Arab and Muslim nations,” and praised Abol Fotoh for “believing in the democratic path side by side with the revolutionary one.”
The celebration itself was preceded by several marches carrying Abol Fotoh’s banners, heading to the event’s destination at Azhar Park to celebrate his official nomination, after having gathered the necessary endorsements of 30,000 eligible voters from at least 15 provinces.
Presidential hopefuls who are not members of established parties represented in parliament must either submit the endorsements of 30 parliamentarians, 30,000 eligible voters or secure the backing of a political party represented by a minimum of one seat in parliament in order to qualify as candidates.