Dostour Party endorses Sabbahi’s candidacy

During a press conference at the Dostour Party headquarters, presidential hopeful Hamdeen Sabbahi called on all parties and groups who participated in the “January 25 and July 30 revolutions” to unite their efforts and support his bid, in order to enable the revolution to finally rule.

On Wednesday, the party held a press conference to announce its endorsement for Sabbahi’s candidacy. Prior to the conference, an internal vote was held to determine the party’s position from the upcoming presidential elections, which are scheduled to start in May. The Dostour Party, which was founded in 2011 by the iconic revolutionary figure Mohamed ElBaradei, is the first to officially announce its endorsement of Sabbahi.

Sabbahi barely won the internal elections of the party, garnering 59.3 percent of the votes, while 28.6 percent voted for a boycott of the elections, 10.1 percent voted to endorse Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and 2 percent chose “another candidate.”

Party leader Hala Shukrallah said that the party wants the new president to work towards making Egypt free of debt, illiteracy, corruption and disease.

“When we find people being sent to jail for requesting reform this means that injustice is still infesting our country, and this is a hurdle to development,” she says.

Sabbahi supported her demand to release all those arrested for protesting in the last few months, stating that he would abolish the unconstitutional Protest Law and issue a general pardon for all those who were detained under it. The controversial law was issued in November, and enforces strict limitations on citizens’ right to protest.

The presidential candidate also extended a call to other parties and groups who believe in the revolution to follow the Dostour Party’s footsteps and endorse his presidency.

“I am calling on the parties and groups who participated in January 25 and June 30 revolution. This is the time to unite our efforts to prove our ability to be victors. This is a moment that will allow us to unite to continue the revolution which exploded in the squares and never reached power,” he said, adding that his campaign is on a mission to ensure the victory of the revolution through elections.

Sabbahi’s chances are believed to be slim after former Minister of Defense Abdel Fattah al-Sisi decided to resign from his military post and run for president, following extreme popularity after removing former President Mohamed Morsi from power last July.

While Sabbahi struggles to gather the 25,000 endorsements needed for candidates, Sisi’s campaign announced on Wednesday that it had submitted 200,000 endorsements to the High Elections Commission.

His total endorsements had surpassed the required number, Sabbahi clarified during the press conference, but the campaign was still trying to gather the minimum of 1,000 endorsements in some governorates.

Sabbahi implicitly referred to his competition as a reincarnation of Mubarak’s corruption. “We will not accept the corruption of Mubarak or of Morsi, or of any other combination which is trying to return Mubarak’s corruption under disguise,” he said. He added that he respects the military and believes that it should sheild itself from the contention of politics and commit to its constitutionally designated role to protect the nation.

He also said that the fairness of the elections can only be ensured through pressure and active participation, demanding that the state not take sides. “We all know the state’s tendency to be biased toward its candidate,” he said.

Sabbahi also directed a message to revolutionary groups, telling them that they will emerge as winners if they unite, regardless of the results of the elections.

“Even if we don’t win, we will have rebuilt a strong national front that upholds the values of the revolution. If we win, we will create a strong state that is good enough for Egypt and the revolution, and if we lose we will constitute a strong opposition that will fight for the revolution’s goals,” he said. “We are in for one of the two victories.”