Opposition party leader blasts ‘counter-campaigns’ against presidential hopefuls

The head of the Socialist Popular Alliance Party, Medhat al-Zahed, blasted the counter-campaigns faced by politicians who announced their intention to run in March’s presidential election.

In Monday’s phone-in with the celebrated TV show ‘Al-Ashera Masaan’, hosted by Wael al-Ebrashy, Zahed brought up the hostile campaigns against rights lawyer Khaled Ali and former ambassador Maasoum Marzouk, who stated they would run for the 2018 presidency.

Zahed said that Egypt is full of people who are capable of running for president, but would have to face a hostile defamation campaign against them.

Mohamed Anwar al-Sadat, an MP and the head of the Reform and Development Party, who intends to run the upcoming presidential elections also accused the government on Sunday of putting unfair pressure and building obstacles for presidential candidates.

He revealed that hotels would not allow him to hold a press conference even to announce his presidential bid, due to government pressure implemented against hotels.

Additionally, Khalid al-Balashy, the spokesman for Khaled Ali’s campaign, hinted that the government utilizes the state of emergency to hinder candidates’ campaigns, enforcing restrictions on the movement of candidates and their supporters.

Meanwhile, the former Dean at the Faculty of Law at Cairo University, Mahmoud Kebeich, said that the conditions announced on Monday by the National Elections Commission (NEC) are extremely difficult to meet.

In an interview aired on the television show ‘Masaa DMC’, Kebeich said that the condition of obtaining the recommendation of 20 MPs during 6 days in order to be considered as a candidate is “almost impossible.”

Elsewhere, however, Salah Hasaballah, the spokesman for the ‘Support Egypt Coalition’, a pro-government parliamentary coalition which controls 350 seats in the House of Representatives, said claims of counter-campaigns against those who wish to run the presidential elections are “not true.”

In a phone-in with the TV show ‘Al-Ashera Masaan’, hosted by Wael al-Ebrashy, Hasaballah said that talk of a political stalemate in Egypt is a claim that is “repeated before every election.”

He pointed out that the political parties have “a state of historical illness, and should not claim that power is the reason for it.”

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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