CAIRO: There will be no corruption in Egypt if I became the president, Nasserist presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi said on Thursday.
Sabahi said, in a live interview on CBC TV co-hosted by Khairy Ramdan and Magdi el-Galad, that the people need a president who has a vision to achieve their aims.
“The Egyptians need a successful state”.
The presidential elections, slated for May 26-27, will be between Sabbahi and the former army chief Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.
Sabbahi said that he understands the Egyptian people’s woes, referring to his role with the labor movement and the farmers, and stating that he endured prison in favor of defending their rights.
He further stated that he was banned from appearing on television during Mohamed Morsi’s time in office, adding that the Egyptian people offered “martyrs” during Morsi’s rule.
Regarding his rival Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, Sabbahi simultaneously offered praise and criticism, saying that Sisi was part of Morsi’s government and gave him the military salute, whereas Sabbahi praised Sisi’s role during June 30.
Sabbahi was previously reported to have said, in a leaked recording attributed to him, that if he assumes the presidency he will try Sisi, as well as other leaders of the former military council.
Moving to his electoral program, Sabbahi said that the administration in Egypt needs major overhauls, and the state’s apparatuses require serious and deep reforms.
“Egypt does not care about its people and the Egyptians do not enjoy their rights,” which has negatively affected their will to work towards improving the country, he added.
“Egypt’s true humiliation lies in its poverty; half of Egyptians are under the poverty line,” he said, adding that the main challenge in his program is to eliminate poverty in Egypt.
We need social justice, achieved through inclusive development, freedom protected by a democratic regime, and national independence through a successful foreign policy, he added.
Sabbahi stated that he will drop the debts for farmers who own up to three acres, and 50 percent of the debts for those who own up to five acres.
He said the country needs to rely on a cooperative philosophy, and the new economy depends on knowledge, innovation and technology. As such, he stated that he plans to build technological cities, on the one hand to be managed by the youth, and on the other hand to help them realize their dreams.
With regards to his campaign funding, he said that he did not receive any foreign donations, and that his campaign received 218,000 EGP in the form of donations to the bank, in addition to in kind donations like banners and posters.
Concerning agriculture and the irrigation system, Sabbahi said his team is working on a project to develop the irrigation system in Egypt, and they will enact decisive laws against building on the agriculture lands. However, he will not demolish the current violating buildings, as this will be too much of a financial burden on the country, according to him.
He said that instead he will settle with those who built in violation on agriculture lands through payouts.
Regarding the judiciary, he said his program includes granting real immunity to the Attorney General, noting that he has a program to develop litigation in Egypt.
On the protest law, which has sparked the anger of thousands of political activists, he said the protest law is illegal and does not comply with the constitution, and that he will amend it in addition to pardoning the thousands who have been arrested or sentenced under this law.
He stated that thousands of students are under arrest as a result of this law, noting that those who were involved in violence should be held accountable by law, but students who demonstrated peacefully should be allowed to return home safely.
Sabbahi continued, saying that he will form an Egyptian commission for transparency and eliminating corruption and discrimination, adding that he will unify the censorship apparatuses and give them authority to act without referring to the president. He also said he will issue regulations to protect the witness on corruption cases.
Furthermore, he stated that every businessman who bought land cheaply will reimburse the price difference, and he will achieve this in accordance with the law.
Concerning security and the status of the police officers, Sabbahi said that it is necessary to increase the efficiency of the police force, adding that police officer are victims of the successive governments, and that the burdens and pressure on them should be eased.
He continued that terrorist organizations alone are within the jurisdiction of the National Security Apparatus, rather than interference in peaceful political activism. He noted that national security is an important matter, but that it should be dealt with politically.
Fruther, he said that while he supported the dispersal of the Muslim Brotherhood sit-ins in Rabaa al-Adaweya and Nahda Squares but he said the victims of the dispersal exceeded his expectations, and the forceful dispersal was unconstitutional.
However, he said the late president Gamal Abdel Nasser was right in confronting the Brotherhood.
Sabbahi said that the Muslim Brotherhood would cease to exist as a group or a party if he wins the elections, echoing similar statements made by Field Marshal Sisi previously.
Further, Sabbahi stated that if he does not succeed in the elections, he will not join Sisi’s government, if asked to.