Sabbahi can surprise Egypt

2012-05-20 21:30

kalahari.com

Dakarnas - Egyptian presidential hopeful Hamdeen Sabbahi rolls into the village of Dakarnas with a retinue of enthusiastic young supporters who are convinced their underdog candidate can surprise the nation.

"The president is here, the president is here!" they chant as the silver-haired Sabbahi grins and waves, at times standing from his car seat to pop through the sun roof, the better to greet locals staring from balconies above.

The 57-year-old Sabbahi had been regarded as something of an also-ran in Egypt's first post-revolution presidential vote. But his showing among Egyptian expatriate voters and in recent polls has helped raise his campaign's profile.

An outspoken proponent of the leftist, pan-Arabist policies of former Egyptian president Gamal Abdul Nasser, Sabbahi is campaigning on a populist platform stressing his humble beginnings.

"He's the son of peasants, he understands our problems," said 39-year-old Ibrahim Zanun, who was waiting outside the Dakarnas mosque where Sabbahi stopped to perform afternoon prayers.

"We feel that he is the one who will give us work, rights and a dignified life."

Sabbahi emerged from the mosque borne on the shoulders of his supporters, who carried him to a podium for a brief stump speech.

"Great Dakarnas, I am one of you, and I will bring you your rights," he told a crowd of several hundred, many of them students from the nearby Mansoura University.

The speech over, the convoy moved on, weaving through small villages where local sentiment often seemed dominated by curiosity rather than obvious support.

One of us

Crowds of children and teenage boys chased after the candidate's black Skoda as it cruised slowly through impoverished alleys.

At the side of the road, a middle-aged woman carrying a child ululated as the campaign passed through, but she admitted she wasn't sure she was going to vote at all.

But once Sabbahi arrived at the site of a campaign rally in Manzala, in the north of Egypt's Daqiliya governorate, the crowds were no longer simply interested bystanders.

Standing by the road waiting to welcome him was 24-year-old law student Sally al-Ezabi.

"I really feel he is one of us," she said. "I love everything about him, his personality and his platform. He talks about education, the economy, about freedom for women, the arts, freedom of thought."

Ezabi, like many Sabbahi supporters on the campaign trail on Saturday, said she had originally thrown her support behind Mohamed ElBaradei, switching allegiance after he announced he wouldn't run.

But others said they backed Sabbahi from the start, calling him a reformer who fought corruption and was unafraid to participate in demonstrations even before Egypt's 2011 revolution.

New or old, Sabbahi's supporters insist he has widespread support in the impoverished rural areas across northern Egypt, where his leftist credentials and emphasis on pride and dignity resonate with many.

But his support is by no means unanimous, and as Sabbahi's convoy moved out of Dakarnas, one local decided to make his allegiance clear, holding up his two palms scrawled with the name of Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Mursi.

- SAPA

Read more on:    mohamed elbaradei  |  egypt  |  egypt elections  |  north africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

ANCYL: Not voting would be blasphemy

Not voting in the forthcoming elections would be blasphemy, the ANCYL says in a statement commemorating the 50th anniversary of struggle icon Nelson Mandela's Rivonia trial speech.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy Tab P7500 10.1" Tablet With WiFi & 3G

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 gives you a better experience for...

From R4999.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There may be a break through, either through quiet contemplative time to connect to your deep side or forced on you by...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.