World, Middle East

Egyptian groups support leftist presidential candidate

Country’s political parties and groups start preparing for 2018 presidential elections

30.05.2017
Egyptian groups support leftist presidential candidate FILE PHOTO - Leftist presidential candidate Egyptian lawyer Khaled Ali (C)

By Rabie al-Sukkari

CAIRO

 Several Egyptian opposition figures and groups have voiced their support for Khaled Ali, a lawyer and former leftist presidential candidate, in presidential polls slated for next year.

They made their views known in a joint statement issued late Monday by seven political groups, including the leftist Popular Alliance; the liberal Constitution Party; the moderate-Islamic Strong Egypt Party; the April 6 youth movement; and the so-called Revolutionary Socialists.

The statement also carried the signatures of 115 public figures, including former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi; prominent politician Jamila Ismail; Egyptian Journalists Syndicate member Amr Badr; and well-known jurist Najad al-Burai.

Signatories also criticized what they described as attempts by the regime of President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi to exclude Ali from the upcoming presidential race by “fabricating” criminal charges against him.

Ali was briefly detained by the Egyptian authorities last week for allegedly making “obscene hand gestures” outside a Cairo court earlier this year.

Statement signatories also called for stepped-up coordination among Egypt’s political opposition with a view to preparing for next year’s presidential race.

Ali, 45, ran unsuccessfully in Egypt’s first ever free presidential election in 2012. Those polls were won by Mohamed Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood leader who was ousted in a military coup after only one year in office.

Ali has yet to confirm his candidacy in next year’s scheduled elections, but in recent months has hinted that he plans to run.

On Monday, Ali’s court case was postponed to July. In the event that he is convicted, he would probably not be allowed to contest the polls, according to Ezzat Ghoneim, a lawyer and human rights activist.

“Provisions of Egyptian law that regulate the exercise of political rights provide cases in which those rights can be temporarily withdrawn,” Ghoneim told Anadolu Agency on Tuesday.

“These cases include convictions for moral offenses,” he said.

In his capacity as lawyer, Ali led a high-profile legal case last year against a controversial decision by the Egyptian government to cede sovereignty over two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia.

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