By Hussein al-Qabbani
The nephew of former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat is planning to run for presidency in next year’s election in Egypt.
“We all have the right to vie in election as long as we fit the conditions,” Mohamed Anwar Sadat told Anadolu Agency in an exclusive interview.
Egypt will hold presidential election in early 2018 as per the constitution.
The term of incumbent President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi is set to expire in June of 2018.
Though he is widely expected to run for re-election, al-Sisi has not publicly announced his intention to run for the vote.
“It’s only a few months before the polls, however, no one has yet unveiled his intention to run, including al-Sisi himself, which raises many questions,” Sadat said.
In 2013, al-Sisi, a former army chief, led the military to unseat Mohamed Morsi, the country’s first freely elected president, in a coup.
Morsi’s ouster has escalated political unrest in a country that saw a popular uprising in 2011 that forced long-serving autocrat Hosni Mubarak to step down after three decades in power.
Rotation of power
Sadat was a former parliamentarian, who was sacked by parliament early this year on the charge of leaking a draft law on NGOs to foreign embassies, the charges that he had totally denied.
He says that he came under attack after unveiling his intention to run for presidency.
“Everyone should accept the rotation of power in Egypt,” Sadat said. “The time of a president who wins an absolute majority is now over.”
He called for the media and state authorities to remain neutral in the election with a view to creating a favorable atmosphere for fair competition.
“The atmosphere of this competition will make us decide whether to run or not,” he said.
Sadat’s uncle, former president Anwar Sadat, is described by Egyptians as the maker of peace after he led the country during the 1973 war against Israel.
Following the war, he championed peace talks with Israel that eventually led to Egypt regain the Sinai Peninsula, which was occupied by Israel in 1967.
Human rights record
Sadat admitted that the human rights situation in Egypt was worsening.
“The human rights status in Egypt needs a review as there are violations and abuses,” he said.
“We need a firm stand from the president and all state agencies,” Sadat said. “All people; Islamists, leftists, liberals and journalists are living under emergency law, which has no justice. This has to stop.”
Egypt declared a three-month state of emergency after a twin bombing against churches that killed scores in April. The state of emergency was renewed for another three months in July.
Since Morsi’s overthrow, Egyptian authorities have launched a relentless crackdown on dissent, killing hundreds and sending thousands behind bars.
The presidential hopeful called for what he described as reconciliation in Egypt.
“As we did with Palestinian rivals, Libya and Syria, the Egyptian ranks need to be closed on the footing of equality, justice and law.”