Thursday, May 1, 2014

Egyptian presidential candidate Sabahi launches very ambitious electoral platform

During the opress conference. Sabbahi is the man most to the right behind the table. (Photo Mohamed El-Shahed/AFP/Gett).

Hamdeen Sabahi, the only candidate for the Egyptian presidency apart from Abdel Fatah el-Sisi, on Wednesday presented his electoral programme. During a press conference he said he would run under the slogan of "social justice, democracy and national independence" and added that he wanted to rebuild Egypt's  hopes for the future from the beginning. ''We ask Egyptians to stand by their legitimate dreams from which they have been deprived by authoritarian rulers," he said.
Sabahi's campaign media advisor said that his program is based on providing the rights for food, health and treatment to all citizens without discrimination, among other rights. ''Regarding the security situation, the current strategy to counter terrorism reflects a clear failure, we have to confront the roots of terrorism," Campaign member Amr Salah said. "Sabahi's program will work on addressing poverty and unemployment, which are the most significant means to fight terrorism,'' he said.

 Wednesday's conference was attended by members of Sabahi's Karama Party, by Hala Shukralla, the head of the Constitution Party and other leaders of her party and the Socialist Popular Alliance.Some of Sabbahi's campaign advisors highlighted aspects of his platform.Strategy", which includes fighting terrorism by abolishing its root causes – poverty and unemployment – which Salah said "make youth more vulnerable to being recruited by terrorist organisations."

Salah Gaber, father of slain revolutionary figure Gaber Salah, commonly known as Jika, – who helped draft Sabahi's plan on transitional justice – said that there were laws in Egypt but were only enforced against the poor. "There are others who have directed bullets towards the children of this nation aside from the Brotherhood," Gaber said, adding that he doesn't justify the Brotherhood's current campaign of terror.

Zakaria El-Haddad, a professor of agricultural economy, said that Egypt imports 50 percent of its food, while the other 50 percent that is locally produced is contaminated. Sabahi's plan, according to him, includes stopping drainage water and factory waste from passing into the Nile. The waste water will be purified and then used to plant 100,000 feddans of trees in the deserts of several Egyptian governorates. The trees will be cultivated for timber, which Egypt imports in large quantities, according to El-Haddad. Sabahi's agriculture plan will also double farmers' income in four years and produce 65 percent of the grain Egyptians use, as opposed to importing it.

Former health minister Amr Helmy introduced Sabahi's healthcare plan.and said that it includes a "social healthcare programme that does not distinguish between social classes and education levels."

Al Shorouk more than a week ago already published details of Sabbahi's plan, which contain some amazing t ambitious plans. One of them is a solar energy project that aims to increase output and create new jobs in Egypt’s tech industry. According to Shorouk, the project calls for the nationalization of the solar industry and the gradual development of the industry over a four year period. This includes the development and manufacture of solar panels and their use in Egyptian homes. Sabbahi estimates that the project will create 16,000 jobs in the tech industry and will radically increase energy output in Egypt. The campaign also seeks to development of a silicon industry tied to the production of computer chips and solar panels.
The campaign’s electoral platform is also proposing the construction of an above ground tram in the greater Cairo area easing the current strain on Egypt’s overburdened transportation network. The high-speed tram would connect communities like October Sixth, New Cairo, and Tenth of Ramadan City to downtown Cairo and Giza providing public transit for many of the Egyptians commuting to these outlying suburbs. Outside of Cairo, the new planks also advocate for the development of Upper Egypt specifically in the form establishing an Upper Egypt Development Fund and the beginning the development and modernization of hospitals both in the region, and in other parts of the country.
Several new planks focus on combating Egypt’s high unemployment rate. This includes the funding of a million projects costing between 10,000 and 50,000 EGP designed to provide jobs for Egypt’s youth. While the specifics were not disclosed, Sabbahi also plans to launch a series of projects to develop the Suez Canal region.

 Following the press conference, Egypt's Presidential Elections Committee (PEC) said that Sabahi had broken election rules by announcing his campaign prematurely.
Abdel-Aziz Salman, the PEC's secretary-general, said that unveiling electoral programmes at this time was unlawful, as official campaigning was scheduled to start on 3 May, according to the commission's announced rules. El-Sisi has yet to present his campaign. The elections will be held on 26-27 May.

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