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Fact Sheets:
Egyptian Presidential Elections -
Hamdeen Sabahi

(Updated June 2012)

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Hamdeen Sabahi is the leader and founder of Egypt's leftist, Nasserist Al-Karam ("Dignity") Party.

Sabahi was an outspoken opposition figure to President Hosni Mubarak even before the January 2011 revolution which eventually led to his ouster and he established the Nasserist Thought Club while on the campus of Cairo University to defend Gamal Abdel-Nasser's 1952 revolution. In 1977, Sabahi spoke out against the rule of President Anwar Sadat and was banned from working as a journalist because of his political stance. In 2010, he became one of the co-founders of the National Assembly for Change (NAC), which sought constitutional reform and to achieve social justice.

Sabahi took part in the January 2011 revolution in Egypt and officially announced his candidacy for the presidential elections in March 2011, saying he was running independent from his party.  He said in interviews that he would commit the Egyptian government to provide material aid to the Palestinian resistance against Israeli occupation and he has consistently rejected Egypt's Camp David peace agreement with Israel.

Below is a sampling of his views on certain important issues:
Changing the Government | Egyptian Political Culture | Relations with Israel | Egyptian Foreign Relations

On Changing the Government in Egypt

- "Every revolution must launch a nationwide revival, this is what political power must be used for, and this is exactly why I am running for president."
(Al-Ahram, April 2012)

- "I opt for presidential system that limits the power of the president and makes him accountable to the public, the parliament and the judiciary."
(Al-Ahram, April 2012)

- "What matters is not the number of seats any party wins, but that the elections are run in a free and fair manner ... The Egyptian people have made it clear that no one will have access to power except through fair and free elections."
(Al-Ahram, April 2012

- "The political aspect ... focuses on building a democratic political system based on a new constitution that guarantees rights such as freedom of belief, expression, to peacefully demonstrate, to establish a political party, and freedom of the press."
(Majallah Magazine, May 2011)

- "We need change in policies, not faces. We need more democracy and social justice."
(Al-Masry Al-Youm, January 2010)

On Political Culture in Egypt

- "Egypt must remain at the core of the Arab nation. This is its identity and destiny ... the revival of Egypt is not a matter of ideology alone. We have to have a vision for revival. And my vision leans heavily on the experience of Abdel-Nasser."
(Al-Ahram, April 2012)

- "I have opposed both Sadat and Mubarak and criticised their policies. Under Sadat and Mubarak, Egypt abandoned its leading role in the Arab world to become a party to the US-Zionist vision for the region. We went from being a country that sides with the poor and stands for social justice to one that believes in open-door policies."
Al-Ahram, April 2012)

- "The people are in need for a candidate who will provide them with decent living conditions, must respect religion, but not necessarily of religious origin."
(Aswat Masriya, February 2012)

On Relations with Israel

- "As for Camp David, I believe that it has shackled Egypt and undermined its status. I haven't been a supporter of the [Egypt-Israel] peace treaty but if I become president the abrogation of Camp David is not going to be my priority."
(Al-Ahram, April 2012)

- "I will cut off natural gas supplies to Israel, which is not part of the treaty. We have no obligation [to export gas to Israel]. It is a waste of national wealth and a subsidy to an enemy who is using it to kill our Palestinian brothers."
Al-Ahram, April 2012)

- "A war with Israel is not something one can rule out at all. To think that what we have now with Israel is a stable peace is wrong. We do not seek war and we will try to avoid it, because we have an obligation to develop our country first."
(Al-Ahram, April 2012)

- "My platform is based on accepting in principle every treaty that maintains peace. However, [the Egypt-Israle Peace Treaty] may be subjected to amendments or even cancellation if the people want ... As for my personal opinion, I’ll always be against it, and this comes out of my national Arab conscience."
(Majallah Magazine, May 2011)

On Egyptian Foreign Relations

- "Our foreign policy should spell out dignity for Egypt and should be stable in its course. Stronger ties are needed with three main circles: the Arab circle in which Egypt is a key player; the African circle of the Nile Valley; and the Islamic circle involving the Arabs, the Turks, and the Iranians."
(Al-Ahram, April 2012)

- "I stand for the best leve of cooperation with Iran and Turkey which will allow all three parties to rebuilt their economic and security stances and shall prevent any single party [Israel or the USA] from interfering with the internal issues of other parties."
(Hiwar Magazine, February 2012)

- "We share the same sea [with the EU]. The Mediterranean is a lake shared by Europeans and Arabs, thus we need to see the best relationships between both parties."
(Hiwar Magazine, February 2012)

- "I appreciate the American people and we are very keen to hold serious talks with them based on equality, not subordination ... Our approach towards western governments and administrations will differ according to our interests under an Egyptian foreign policy that will revive Egypt and raise its international status."
(Majallah Magazine, May 2011)

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