Egypt’s long-anticipated presidential elections are now just a fortnight away and the Egyptians are worried and confused, as they don’t know whom they ought to vote for.
Everyone is listening anxiously to the candidates, watching their TV programmes and scrutinising their manifestoes, as they strive to make the right decision.
Most people are hoping for a new, peaceful era with a good and responsible leader, able to transform Egypt into a new country without chaos and corruption, with a healthy economy and good educational and healthcare systems.
‘President of the Poor’
"I’ve decided to vote for Hamdeen Sabahi, because he’s a revolutionary and has a lot of political experience," Neveen Essam, a 26-year-old graduate, says.
"He is a respectable man and the young people like him,” she adds. Essam, excited at the idea of having a say in choosing Egypt’s next president, believes that Sabahi will try to help the nation’s youth and the poor too, who account for a huge percentage of Egyptians.
“He seems to has carefully thought through what has been happening in Egypt," Essam stresses.
Sabahi (56), a Nasserist candidate, says he has decided to run in the presidential elections for the sake of the poor, having in mind the late president Gamal Abdel Nasser, who advocated the right of the poor to a decent life.
Many citizens need to be better paid and Sabahi believes the solution lies in better utilisation of Egypt’s agricultural and industrial wealth. Nagwa el-Sayyed, a 45-year-old housewife, also plans to vote for Sabahi.
"At first I went for with Abul Fotouh, but, when the Salafists announced that they would support him, I decided to vote for Hamdeen Sabahi because he has good ideas and a good mentality.
"He also stresses the importance of tourism, one of the most important sources of the national income," says Nagwa.
Sabahi has hinted that he wants to develop ‘nature tourism’ in Red Sea Governorate, while also better exploiting the governorate’s mineral potential in Ras Ghareb and el-Qwesseir.
Shafiq and security
Meanwhile, Laila Saeed, a 52-year-old civil servant, is still undecided about whom to vote for.
"I'm in two minds. I don’t know who’s best, but I do know that the next President must be a responsible man. Yet, in the current circumstances, we also need someone experienced, who can put an end to the chaos. That man might be Ahmed Shafiq," she explains.
Shafiq (70), a former aviation minister and later a prime minister in the Mubarak regime, has promised that, if elected, he will, within three months, restore security to Egypt's streets and save the citizens from the thugs.
He has also promised to get tough on lawbreakers and raise the education budget to 10 per cent of the State budget from 3.5 per cent, at present.
El-Awwa and equality
"But I also think that Mohamed Selim el-Awwa has very good ideas and doesn’t make empty promises. He is logical and he’s studied Egypt's problems very carefully," Laila adds. "I'm really confused; however, I still have time to scrutinise all the candidates’ manifestoes and then decide.”
El-Awwa, 69, believes that the State is responsible for protecting the citizens, their money and their dignity, as well as creating projects to help the country develop and progress.
A well-known Islamist thinker and lawyer, el-Awwa believes that individual ethics are very important.
“All Egyptians are equal in the eyes of the law and any discrimination on the grounds of religion or gender should be criminalised. Getting rid of corruption is the first step on the road to achieving justice and equality.
"Education is the basis for development. Ethical education is the most important thing for building a patriotic Egyptian character. Education is the State's responsibility," he told a TV programme.
Moussa’s minimum and maximum
Essam Mohamed (55), who owns a shop selling electronic goods, is also undecided.
"But I'll vote for one of the old regime men, Amr Moussa or Ahmed Shafiq, because they’ve got a lot of experience of the 'political kitchen'," he says. "Egypt needs an experienced man to bring the situation under control as soon as possible.”
Amr Moussa (75), Mubarak's former foreign minister, promises that, if elected, he will restore Egypt's security within 100 days, as well as launching a comprehensive reform of the Labour Law and social insurance, in order to meet the legitimate demands of workers and employees.
“I will also implement a minimum and maximum wage; any exceptions will have to be approved by the prime minister,” he says.
According to a survey made a few days ago by the Cabinet’s Information Centre, Moussa and Abul-Fotouh are both in the lead, on 11 per cent each, while Shafiq is in third place (6 per cent) and Morsi fourth (only 2 per cent).
But the survey stresses that 24 per cent of voters are still undecided, while 47 per cent say that they will actually vote on May 23 and 24.
"I'll vote for Mohamed Morsi, because he represents a whole institution, the Muslim Brotherhood. He is an engineer, so thinking is his job and he has foreign experience.
“He is a strong Muslim, which I believe is an important qualification for an Egyptian president," says Omar Mohamed, a 22-year-old engineer.
"He knows how to rebuild Egypt again because the Brotherhood are well organised.”
Morsi (60), the Brotherhood candidate, wants to restructure education and restore Al-Azhar’s leading role, supporting its scientific, educational, administrative and financial independence as a beacon for moderate Islam.
"I'll support the small and medium projects which will activate the economy," Morsi’s manifesto reads. A truthful manYara Ibrahim, a housewife, says that she will give her voice to Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh, who wasn’t afraid to speak out against the policies of the old regime.
"He has also thought out his manifesto very well, stressing the need for Egypt’s economy to change," she told the Egyptian Mail in an interview.
Abul Fotouh (60), a former Muslim Brotherhood leader, has promised to make Egypt one of the world’s 20 strongest economies within a decade.
He intends to increase the education budget to 25 per cent and the health budget to 15 per cent, should he become president.
"If I get elected] my vice-president will be a young man and young people will occupy 50 per cent of senior State posts. I also promise to eradicate illiteracy among people under the age of 40 by the end of my four-year presidential term," he says.
In its poll of 1,200 citizens last week, Al-Ahram Political Studies Centre said that Moussa was leading the 13 presidential candidates with 41.1 per cent of votes.
Abul Fotouh was second with 27.3 per cent, both candidates then potentially account for 68.4 per cent of votes. Shafiq was third (11.9 per cent) and Sabahi fourth (7.4 per cent).
El-Awwa, got 5.7 per cent of the votes, with Morsi only garnering 3.6 per cent.
Meanwhile, according to a poll made by ‘Bassira’ (Vision), the Egyptian institution for public opinion research, on April 27, published in Al-Masry Al-Youm independent newspaper, Abul Fotouh was in first place with 15.5 per cent, Moussa was second (12.5 per cent) and Ahmed Shafiq third (6 per cent).
Maged Othman, the head of the institution, said that they surveyed 2,000 people, adding that those polled were very positive, with a big percentage saying that they would vote, although many of them had still to make up their minds for whom.
Source: http://220.127.116.11/~egyptian/index.p ... &title=Who will be Egypt's President?
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