Former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahy is running once more for presidential elections, making him the first person to officially launch a presidential bid in the upcoming presidential elections.
Sabahy, 60, had hinted at a possible candidacy for months but announced his intention to run in a press conference on Saturday, to a cheering crowd which broke into chants of “Hamdeen” and later chants of “Hamdeen took the decision”.
“Firstly, our battle is against poverty, backwardness, corruption and tyranny,” he addressed the jubilant crowd.
He added: “We are the people, we are the ones who chanted in the squares, ‘the army and people are one hand’.” He added that his battle is in the “name of the revolution” and is for the people and the army. This was followed by chants of “the people and the army are one hand”.
Sabahy’s decision was followed by conflicting statements by members of Tamarod, the petition movement that gathered signatures to oust former president Mohamed Morsi and had eventually gained vast momentum.
Two Tamarod co-founders, Hassan Shahin and Mohamed Abdel Aziz, promptly announced on the group’s official Facebook page that they support the presidential hopeful.
Another group co-founder, Mahmoud Badr, announced that the memberships of Shahin, Abdel Aziz, and a third member have been frozen until further notice and that the Tamarod’s Facebook page has been hijacked and no longer represents the movement.
Subsequently, a statement signed by a group of 50 Tamarod co-founders and officials, including Shahin and Abdel Aziz, was published on the group’s Facebook page to announce support for “the fighter Hamdeen Sabahy”. They cited his opposition to “networks of corruption” under the rule of ousted president Hosni Mubarak and to “the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood organisation” under the rule of Morsi, among others, as reasons for their support.
Tamarod’s website, however, shows the movement’s support for Defence Minister Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s potential presidential bid. The movement’s representatives in the governorate of Qena and the Delta area, which includes the governorates of Alexandria and Port Said, also announced their “full support” for the defence minister on the movement’s website.
Al-Sisi has not yet announced that he is entering the race but speculation regarding whether or not he will is mounting, especially after the Supreme Council of Armed Forces gave him the green light on 27 January.
One week ago, Sabahy proposed a ten-point initiative, stating that he would support any presidential hopeful who adopted its components. The first two points of the initiative, named “Egypt’s future”, called for the achievement of the “objectives of the 25 January and 30 June revolutions” through national cohesion and “empowerment of the youth”, and the application of “transitional justice”.
The co-founder of the Al-Tayar Al-Sha’aby political group said on 11 January that he was a “potential” candidate and that his candidacy depends on a prospective electoral programme and the formation of a campaign team that “represents the revolution”.
On 25 November, Sabahy said he would enter the presidential race if a national consensus is reached naming him a “candidate of the revolution”.
The presidential hopeful had run in the 2012 presidential elections, which brought Muslim Brotherhood candidate Morsi to power, but was eliminated after the first round of voting.