Tagammu to withdraw Bastawisi if strong consensus candidate emerges

Tagammu Party on Saturday said it will withdraw its presidential candidate, Hesham al-Bastawisi, if leftist and democratic powers agree to support one candidate to confront what it says are attempts by the Muslim Brotherhood to seize all state institutions.

In a statement, the party said that since its establishment it has sought to unify leftists and national and progressive powers.

The party added that this becomes all the more important in light of attempts by the Brotherhood to dominate all state institutions, particularly the presidency.

The statement added that if all leftist and democratic parties agree on supporting a single candidate, the party and its candidate will not stand as an obstacle to that agreement.

Two other leftist candidates, Hamdeen Sabbahi and Abul Ezz al-Hariry, are competing in the presidential race.

Sabbahi, a leftist activist and former MP, has featured among the top candidates in several opinion polls. He also received a considerable number of expatriate Egyptians' votes, according to unofficial results announced on Friday and Saturday.

The three candidates have met previously to decide which of them should run, with the other two to become his deputies if he won, but their negotiations failed.

Bastawisi, a judge who strongly opposed Mubarak’s regime, was referred to a disciplinary council after he said the 2005 parliamentary election was rigged.

According to unofficial results of the expat vote, Bastawisy has fared poorly. Some observers have said his presidential campaign is weak, with little publicity and few rallies.

Bastawisy does not belong to the left but was chosen by Tagammu for "the social justice his platform plans to achieve.”

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