Egypt is preparing for its first presidential elections after more than 30 years under the rule of Hosni Mubarak following the change in the rules governing elections. The military council of the Egyptian Army ensured the ballot for the president will be free and fair.
Dr Amr Moussa, former foreign secretary and former secretary general of the Arab League, is one of the leading candidates. He spoke to euronews correspondent, Riad Muasses.
euronews: “What is different in your platform from those of other candidates?”
Amr Moussa: “My programme is different because it is global, it is a vision and a programme in one. A programme that focuses on all Egypt’s problems, because there were failures in the treatment of Egyptian problems, government after government, with which I was not involved, did nothing.
“I propose a short-term programme for the next four years and another to be put in place for the long term. My programme will establish a new state, it will be the second republic, which will not be a continuation of the first republic, it will be totally different from the previous 60 years. It will establish a democratic, constitutional presidential system that will change institutions, and the administration, independence of the judiciary and the separation of powers. The reality is that my program provides a lot of answers to several questions. It is not a single programme but a vision of Egypt for the country’s future.”
euronews: “Dr Moussa, I have found since following your campaign you are giving strong emphasis to agricultural workers, as is evident on this visit to the country.”
Amr Moussa: “Yes, these people have been marginalised and they have not benefited from any programme for the last 60 years.”
Euronews: “Dr. Moussa the programme is ambitious will it work financially?”
Amr Moussa: “For the necessary capital for the coming years, say, the next five to ten years, we do expect economic growth in Egypt. Production is accelerating, the doors are opening to investment and tourism is starting to pick up again.
‘So we should not consider the current financial situation when thinking about these programmes, we are talking about next year and that is why I am not concerned about any problems which may hinder our economic policy in the long or medium term.”
Euronews: “Many people accuse you of belonging to the former regime and that you worked with President Mubarak. Is this not affecting your campaign?”
Amr Moussa: “Yes but a lot the accusation is a personal one, it has nothing to do with my policies. And those who people who accuse me, actually chose Issam Sharaf as Prime Minister and he was also part of the old regime.
‘So these allegations are irrelevant, but if the accusations are because I was foreign minister for ten years, yes I was and I am proud of those years. I think Egypt as a whole hasn’t taken all that into consideration.”
Euronews: “You are the favourite in the polls along with a candidate from the Muslim Brotherhood. Do you believe them?”
Amr Moussa: “If it was just one poll, there could be a doubt but when you see ten successive polls from various internal and external sources all saying the same thing then there should be some truth in them.”
Euronews: “There has been some disquiet in Israel that you could become President. Would your election cause problems in relationships between the two countries?”
Amr Moussa: “No, they do not want someone who is aware of the Palestinian cause and the Arab-Israeli conflict. They also do not want someone who knows how to say, “no” really says no and when he will say yes it will be on his own terms and not on conditions imposed by others.
‘In past relationships they didn’t see any of the problems in Egypt but that is all finished. They hope that the President of Egypt will handle the situation more easily. I know they are not concerned about conflict but they do fear someone who understands their games.”
Euronews: “You can understand that….”
Amr Moussa: “As we say they do not want someone who can answer them.”
Amr Moussa: “I firmly believe that Egypt should follow a rational policy in the region. We want to rebuild our country, that is a priority but that does not mean we will abandon the Palestinians. The Palestinian have a just cause, which has a close relationship with Egyptian national security and which can threaten the stability in the Middle East. In any case, Egypt is part of the Arab peace initiative and a peaceful, political solution has been adopted with a level playing field and that is more or less our position.”
Euronews: “Will there be changes to the Camp David Treaty?”
Amr Moussa: “No, the Camp David Treaty is finished, there is now an Egyptian – Israeli treaty that is in force and we will respect it.”
Euronews: “If you become President, how will you deal with parliament, it is a parliament dominated by Islamist?”
Amr Moussa: “We will work with the parliament in the correct manner whether it is dominated by Islamists or not. As president I have to work with the parliamentary majority. I have my opinion and they have theirs, but it is necessary that we work together positively and I will not marginalise them. As president I will have my views but I will always consult this majority.”