CAIRO: Hamdeen Sabbahi, Nasserist politician and sole rival to former army chief Abdel Fatah al-Sisi in the presidential elections, said on Thursday he is running for president in order to build a state that aligns with the aspirations and aims of the revolution and the Egyptian people.
“We do not have the luxury after two revolutions to give up on the revolution’s aims,” Sabbahi said in an interview with Sky News Arabia.
Sabbahi said Egypt deserves to have democratic elections that prove the country can build a patriotic, democratic and civil state.
During the interview, Sabbahi said Egypt needs to overhaul its budget and combat corruption, claiming 200 billion EGP has been lost due to corruption.
Asked about the mechanisms to eliminate corruption, he said solutions include reducing expenditures of the president and the government, creating new legislation, forming a commission of transparency and anti-corruption, and extending the powers of the supervisory institutions.
“The social justice and the democratic system would create an environment to eliminate corruption,” he added.
Sabbahi said he does not criticize his rival but he does criticize his policies, thoughts and opinions, while expressing his respect for Sisi’s role in the events ofJune 30.
Concerning designating the Muslim Brotherhood a “terrorist organization,” he said the group erred in power and its opposition, adding that the Brotherhood as a group or a party would not exist under his rule.
He said he would not tolerate the “terrorism” the Brotherhood espouses, but that he also would not prosecute anyone who expresses opinions peacefully.
”Terrorism” is the enemy of democracy and its grievances are recovered by the law, he said. When there is no justice “terrorism” grows, he added.
Concerning the protest law enacted last year, Sabbahi denied he would repeal the law, but he said he would amend it to align with the constitution, adding that he will pardon anyone who is being detained under the law.
To stop discrimination against women and Christians, Sabbahi said he would form a commission for equal opportunity and anti-discrimination.
Regarding international relations, Sabbahi said he would build new relations, but would not allow Egypt to be a “subsidiary” of the United States. He said he would dispense of the economic aid offered by the U.S. because it is being used to control Egyptian decisions, but would accept military aid.
The Egyptian army will play an important and efficient role in protecting the country and the security of Arab nations, he added.
Concerning relations with Israel specifically, Sabbahi said he is not satisfied with the Camp David Accords, but added that in proposing any amendments to the treaty he would adhere to international law.
“I will correct the Camp David treaty in accordance to the rules and procedures of international law,” Sabbahi said, adding that if he was elected president he would put the treaty to a referendum.
He added that Egypt needs “full sovereignty” in the Sinai. Regarding the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, he said he would address the problem politically.
Regarding Syria, he said he is against the bloodshed and will call for a political solution to the crisis. Concerning tense relations with Qatar, Sabbahi said Qatar erred regarding the rights of Egyptians and it must admit that.
Sabbahi is running against the popular Sisi, who is widely expected to win the elections May 26 to 27.