Abol Fotouh says Egypt is now 'republic of fear'

Abol Fotouh pointed to what he said were 21,000 jailed activists and said a hotel manager had turned down a request to host Sunday's news conference because of his own fears.

Abol Fotouh says Egypt is now 'republic of fear'

World Bulletin/News Desk

Strong Egypt Party announced on Sunday that it will not field candidate in the upcoming presidential elections, saying Egyptians are currently living in "the republic of fear."

"We will not field any candidate in the next presidential elections and will not take part in a charade," party founder and former presidential contender Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh told a press conference in Cairo.

"The political and legal conditions in Egypt do not allow for fair polls and we cannot accept to be part of a farce," he asserted.

Abul-Fotouh slammed the country's interim authorities over alleged grave human rights violations, saying Egyptians are currently living in "the republic of fear."

"There cannot be presidential elections while there are 21,000 political activists detained, opposition satellite channels shut and freedoms suppressed," he insisted.

In a statement read out during the conference, the party said any regime wins its legitimacy from the people through a democratic path supervised by an independent judicial authority, "which is not the case now."

"The elections are going in one direction after the army mandated one of its commanders to contest the vote," it said.

The Supreme Council of Armed Forces has recently reiterated its respect for "popular demands" for army chief Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi to run for president.

It described such demands as a call of duty that should be "answered."

Speculation has been rife that al-Sisi, widely seen as the driving force behind the army's ouster of elected president Mohamed Morsi in July, would soon resign from his military post to contest the presidential polls, expected to be held within the next two months.

Popular leftist politician Hamdeen Sabahi, who came third in the 2012 election, on Saturday became the first politician to clearly state he would run.

The government says it has charted a course to democracy after Mursi's overthrow. Abol Fotouh said: "There is no democratic path in Egypt".

Abol Fotouh said a hotel manager had turned down a request to host Sunday's news conference not because of instructions from the authorities but because of his own fears.

"Any Egyptian who wants to express his opinion is afraid that he will be harmed, detained, that his house will be stormed, or a case against him will be fabricated, or it will be said that 'you are insulting the judiciary'," he said.

Abol Fotouh was a senior member of the Brotherhood until 2011, when the movement expelled him after he decided to stage an independent bid for the presidency.

Activists from Abol Fotouh's Strong Egypt party were detained while campaigning against a new constitution approved in a referendum in January.

"Egyptians will not live in this republic of fear after Jan. 25," he said, referring to the 2011 uprising that led to Mubarak's downfall. "The nations that have broken the fear barrier will not again surrender (to it)," he said.

Last Mod: 09 Şubat 2014, 16:41
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