News ID: 8285
Publish Date: 15 May 2012 - 12:04
Hamdeen Sabahi (Hamdin Sabahi; 5 July, 1954- ) is an Egyptian journalist, activist, and a candidate in the upcoming Egyptian presidential election.
He was born in a small town in Kafr Al-Sheikh called Baltim, where he spent his childhood and youth among farmers and fishermen. In 1975, Sabahi was accepted to Cairo University where he studied Mass communication and, with a group of friends, founded the Nasserist club.
Hamdeen enjoyed a wide popularity among his colleagues who elected him president of the university's Student Union. In 1977, when former President Anwar Sadat met with Student Union representatives from around Egypt, Sabahi openly expressed his disapproval of Sadat's policies and regime.

He criticized Sadat's Infitah (Open-Door Policy), which he said only favored the capitalists and those who were already well off. He also criticized Sadat's plans to make peace with Israel, while Palestinians remained without a home and devoid of representation.

"If the terms we have to accept in order for this land to be returned include recognizing the Zionist entity," Sabahi argued, "this would be a mistake". Because of this confrontation, Sabahi was banned from working as a journalist or on TV. And in September 1981, Sabahi was the youngest member of the Nationalist Opposition movement to be detained.

In 1985, he obtained his master's in journalism. Shortly thereafter, Hamdeen Sabahi and some colleagues founded Saʿid (The Rising), "a center for Arabic journalism", where many young, Arab journalists were trained in the field.

On January 25, 2011, Hamdeen Sabahi joined the protests that took place in his hometown, Baltim, and also took part in the "Friday of Anger" protest on January 28, where he spent the entire day in Mohandisin (Cairo) among the masses.

After the fall of the Mubarak regime, Hamdeen Sabahi officially announced his intention to run for president. He promised that he will do his best to help Egypt become a democracy, where the law is truly above all and where citizens' rights are sacrosanct.
In a press conference in March 2011, Hamdeen Sabahi promised that he would make the separation of powers more distinct, provide social equity and justice, and rid the Egyptian economy of monopoly and corruption. He promised economic reforms such as setting priorities for the national budget and setting a minimum wage for laborers.

In another press conference in October 2011, Sabahi said that his presidential campaign will focus on three aspects: "building a democratic system..., granting general freedoms, clarifying the separation of powers, limiting presidential power, guaranteeing the freedoms of political parties, syndicates and the media," while preserving citizens' rights to protest and go on strike.

Regarding the economy and social justice, he said that he hopes to establish a state-capitalist Egypt in which the public and private sectors cooperate with one another. According to Sabahi, the Egyptian should be entitled to eight things: "housing, healthcare, food, free education, work, insurance and a fair wage, and a clean environment." He told his audience, "If I become president and do not fulfill these promises, I ask you to hold me accountable".

Another big concern for Sabahi is bringing Egypt's status as a regional power back. Sabahi reaffirmed his support for Article two of the 1971 Constitution which states that Shariʿa (Islamic) law is the main source of legislation and reasserted his belief that Egypt is an Arabic and Islamic country that "Muslims and Christians build together." Hamdeen Sabahi affirms that "the peasants are the most important class in Egypt."

On January 25, 2012, the first anniversary of the Revolution, Sabahi suggested that Egyptians in Egypt and abroad who possess 50 million Egyptian pounds (about $8.3 million) or more pay a 10% tax, which he called Tahrir, once in their lifetime. He argued that this would be the first step to achieving social equity and justice as well as giving equal opportunity to all Egyptians.

Sabahi said that he would not run for president if the constitution to be drafted calls for a parliamentary system of government, for that system, he argued, would "create a new dictator." This is one of the reasons Sabahi wants the constitution to be written before presidential elections are held.
"We need a parliament," he explained, "that is independent of the president and would hold him accountable." He argued that the danger of having a parliamentary system is that the prime minister, who would be chosen by a majority vote of the MPs, would be head of government. And because the MPs chose him, they would inevitably back and protect him.

Regarding the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, Sabahi said that the council's performance in the beginning was very good, because they favored and sided with those in Tahrir Square. But relations eventually grew sour because of the council mismanaged the transitional phase.
"They could have easily maintained the love and respect" people had for the military, he argued. "They could have easily established the stability they always spoke of. And much earlier on."

One of the founders and leaders of Kefayeh party in 2004.

One of the national opposition leaders and activists against building apartheid wall between Egypt and Palestine.

The first Egyptian delegation who entered Gaza after breaking the Israeli blockade. 

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