Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Sabahi Doesn't Fear Egypt Ballot Rigging Despite 'Obvious Bias'
Egyptian presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi.
Ahram Online , Wednesday 21 May 2014

Leftist presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi still hopeful of victory despite winning only six percent of votes cast by Egyptians living abroad

Presidential hopeful Hamdeen Sabahi has said he does not fear ballot rigging in the upcoming poll despite the state's "obvious bias" towards his rival.

Sabahi, who came third in the 2012 election, is running for the country's top post against former army chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, who is expected to win the vote handsomely.

The leftist politician said that he was confident about his chances of winning, stressing that the result was not a foregone conclusion.

"Whoever thinks the result is settled does not follow the Egyptian scene closely, nor are they aware of the diversity of the election map or the volatility of public opinion," Sabahi said in an interview with Al-Arabia satellite channel broadcast on Tuesday night.

Around 300,000 Egyptians living abroad have already cast their ballots. Initial results show Sabahi trailing behind El-Sisi with around six percent of the votes. El-Sisi garnered a whopping 94 percent. Official results are to be announced on Wednesday 28 May.

Sabahi predicted the election, which takes place on 26-27 May, would be transparent.

"I don’t fear ballot-rigging. Despite the clear bias from state institutions in favour of my rival," he said.

"They see him as the state's candidate. They fear sacrificing their interests and investments by taking an anti-state stance."

Sabahi, a longtime opposition figure who was jailed several times under previous presidents, said he would remain in the opposition camp if El-Sisi was elected president.

"I’ll be an opponent if El-Sisi wins and will not accept an executive position."

He has repeatedly voiced fears of a return to authoritarian rule amid a harsh police crackdown in which hundreds of people, mostly Islamists, have been killed and thousands thrown behind bars.

Sabahi lashed out at his contender for failing to announce his election programme.

The former military leader has so far concentrated on meetings with selected groups and pre-recorded TV interviews, with a few if any street appearances, provoking criticism from supporters and opponents alike.

"He only provides media talk rather than a specific electoral platform."

Sabahi, who has travelled throughout the country to promote his policies, vowed to ensure Egyptians a decent life with a programme to "fight poverty and ensure social justice." 

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