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Constitution ‘divisive’ says Egyptian opposition’s Hamdeen Sabahy
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Stability is in short supply in Egypt. The election of the Muslim Brotherhood and the recent vote on a new constitution has split the country and many are now concerned for the future.

Hamdeen Sabahy is a former presidential candidate and opposition leader. He is critical of the new government of Mohammed Mursi and the content of new constitution.

He spoke to euronews’ correspondent Mohammed Shaikhibrahim:

“How do you see the results of the recent referendum?”

Hamdeen Sabahy:
“This constitution has failed to unite Egyptians. It did not get the necessary approval, which would have guaranteed a compatible constitution. It is therefore a constitution that is divisive rather than being a constitution of national assembly, an inclusive, mutual, national project.”

Mohammed Shaikhibrahim, euronews:
“Mr. Hamdeen, democracy means one must accept the outcome of the vote?”

Hamdeen Sabahy:
“Yes, democracy means that and we respect the results, but with one essential condition, which is the integrity of the referendum. Democracy is not just a means to access power, it is a way of practising this power. It looks like the power in Egypt has been decided by democratic means, but the one who is in power now wants to destroy the stairway that lifted him to power and to tear it down. This individual now has a solid grip on power.”

Mohammed Shaikhibrahim, euronews:
“Are we to understand that the Muslim Brotherhood has fabricated the results of the referendum?”

Hamdeen Sabahy:
“Yes, this constitution, which was supervised by the Muslim Brotherhood government, is full of flaws and breaches and violations, which question the integrity of this referendum.”

Mohammed Shaikhibrahim, euronews:
“Can you give us some articles of the constitution which are at the centre of the conflict between the opposition and the presidency?”

Hamdeen Sabahy:
“This constitution has given the opportunity for basic rights to be abused, especially freedom of speech, opinion and creativity, by stipulating the freedoms that should be practised under what it calls the basic rules of the state and society.
This raises a question for those who misinterpret Islamic sharia law and use it crush freedom. Now, the same people are the majority and they abuse Islam and sharia. They see this as a restrictive tool, unlike us. These people are now using the Islamic law as a tool to threaten liberties, to discriminate and spread hate. They are at the centre of political life. They can use these articles of the constitution in a negative way that could offend Islam, sharia, freedom and the nation of Egypt.”

Mohammed Shaikhibrahim, euronews:
“You have spoken of the popular momentum to tear down the constitution’s declaration and Egypt’s new draft constitution, but the turnout did not exceed thirty percent How do you explain that?”

Hamdeen Sabahy:
“Simple, the Egyptian people now have a deeper crisis, which is how to live and to eat. Many Egyptians believe that the controversy and political dispute comes at the expense of providing opportunities for a decent life, jobs and development and this is certainly true. That is why they are reluctant to participate in what they see as a kind of obstacle to stability, a stability that will enable the provision of decent and fair economic conditions and a better social life.”

Mohammed Shaikhibrahim, euronews:
“Hamdeen Sabahy, you have been accused by your political opponents of having a lust for power and your defeat at the polls means you are not in government. Do you agree?”

Hamdeen Sabahy:

“I am not greedy for power, and it was not an individual desire to run in the elections. I have no intention to run again in the future, unless the Egyptian national movement sees my candidacy as serving the national interest, only in that case would I run in future elections
In any case I do not see that power in Egypt is something to desire, but if it is a collective decision I will accept it, it is not an individual thing for me.”

Mohammed Shaikhibrahim, euronews:
“The victims of the bloodshed in front of the presidential palace were from the Muslim Brotherhood is that right?”

Hamdeen Sabahy:
“It is not true this is false information.”

Mohammed Shaikhibrahim, euronews:
“The Muslim brotherhood claim that.”

Hamdeen Sabahi:
“The claim is incorrect and they have no proof.”

Mohammed Shaikhibrahim, euronews:
“Were the weapons used during the violence fired by the armed militia of the Muslim Brotherhood as the opposition claim?”

“Certainly the process of expressing opinion was peaceful until the Muslim Brotherhood turned up with its organised groups. I wouldn’t call them militias. I don’t think that the Muslim Brotherhood have militias, but they do have organised groups. They started the violence in front of the palace. We accuse the Muslim Brotherhood and it is a clear accusation that they were the main cause of the violence that happened in front of the palace. We are awaiting the outcome final investigations by prosecutors.
Prosecution investigations uncovered the lies claimed by the president in his speech about conspiracy. These investigations will prove, as we believe, the guilt of the Brotherhood its guidance office specifically directed their youth to instigate the violence that took place in front of the Presidential Palace.”

Mohammed Shaikhibrahim, euronews:

“I would like to talk about another impression from the grass roots, those that took to the streets in the revolution. They say it is better for you to stand alone in opposition rather than join with a group, which is considered to be part of the former regime?”

Hamdeen Sabahy:
“It is true that I have been criticised for joining the National Salvation Front and being seen with Amr Moussa and Sayd El Badawy and I can be questioned. But we did not and will not cooperate with those whose hands are stained with Egyptian blood and the martyrs of the revolution or those who are corrupt and think only of money. We stand with together with the people. Yes, both men were part of the former regime, but Amr Moussa would never have Egyptian blood on his hands. One may attack Sayd El Badawy, but his Wafd Party, which he leads, is an integral part of the Egyptian National Movement it has a part in this country’s past and future.”

Mohammed Shaikhibrahim, euronews:
“What I understood from what you said, is that you believe that Egypt has gone from revolution to dictatorship is that what you believe?”

Hamdeen Sabahy:
“The existing regime is not a democratic one, and it is not a reflection of the desires of January 25 revolution. It does not fulfill Egyptian ambitions to have a democracy and broad participation in decision making or an all inclusive social justice.”

Mohammed Shaikhibrahim, euronews:

“Hamdeen Sabahy, thank you.”

Copyright © 2014 euronews

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