By Safaa Abdoun
CAIRO: Presidential hopefuls Ayman Nour and Hamdeen Sabahy filed their candidacy documents to the Presidential Election Committee (PEC) on Friday amidst much celebration by their supporters.
The two candidates submitted their applications within one hour with the supporters of each chanting together “Nour and Sabahy, one hand.”
An avid supporter of late Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, Sabahy visited the socialist leader’s grave before heading to the headquarters of PEC in Heliopolis.
Sabahy, who is the founder of Al-Karama Party, runs a campaign with the slogan “One of Us.” His program includes the ambitious goal of ranking Egypt eighth 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.
“He is one of us; this is man who has empathy to the poor and will work on social justice policies that will ensure that every citizen gets their right to eat, have a job, education and health treatment,” said Mohamed Abdel Hamid, who works at a private textiles factory.
“Enough with the haves and have-nots in this country, there must be equality,” he added.
No sooner than Sabahy left the headquarters, Nour arrived with his supporters. The head of Ghad El-Thawra Party attended the Friday prayers at Al-Azhar Mosque then went on a march to Bab El-Shaareya before heading to PEC’s headquarters.
According to Mohamed Mostafa, leading member of Ghad El-Thawra, Nour had submitted his papers in 2005 also following Friday prayers at Al-Azhar.
Nour was carried on the shoulders of his supporters amidst chants of “bread, freedom and social justice,” the iconic chant of the Jan. 25 uprising.
“[Nour] is the ideal candidate following the revolution, he stands for all its principals of freedom, dignity and social justice in everyway,” said Salwa El Moghny, 27.
“He is young and he started a revolution on his own years ago by being among the first politicians to speak out against the corrupt regime. He wasn’t afraid to go in the battle alone and gave it his everything,” she explained.
Nour has come very close to not being eligible to join the presidential race, as the Court of Cassation dismissed an appeal for a retrial in the case of the Ghad Party proxies, which he was accused of forging in 2005. However the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) pardoned him, hence allowing him to run in the upcoming elections.
Nour was sentenced to five years in prison shortly following the 2005 presidential elections, in a case widely perceived as politically-motivated as he came a distant second to then-president Hosni Mubarak in the first multi-candidate presidential election in the country.
He was released in 2009 on health grounds but the charges were not dropped even after the uprising that ousted Mubarak last year.
Presidential hopeful Ayman Nour. (Daily News Egypt Photo/Hassan Ibrahim)