First Published: 2005-06-16

 
Sadat 'Mark II' to run for Egypt presidency
 

Anwar Sadat’s nephew accuses Egyptian President of wrecking his uncle's popular legacy.

 

Middle East Online

By Lamia Radi - CAIRO

Anwar Sadat assassinated in 1981

The nephew of assassinated Egyptian president Anwar Sadat officially announced Thursday plans to run for president in September and accused incumbent Hosni Mubarak of wrecking his uncle's popular legacy.

Talaat Sadat, 51, had planned to launch his presidential bid at the mausoleum erected on the site of his illustrious uncle's 1981 murder, but access was forbidden by military police, an AFP correspondent reported.

"We apologise for any inconvenience due to maintenance work," read signs in English and Arabic on the barriers sealing off the area on the outskirts of Cairo.

"It's a very strange situation because we had received an authorisation letter from the authorities," said Sadat, who held his press conference on the nearest street corner after laying two wreaths on his uncle's tomb.

A few dozen supporters waving posters and banners turned out for the official announcement of Sadat's candidacy in the country's first pluralist presidential elections in decades.

A traditional "Hassaballah" band was also present at the event. It played a well-known song to the glory of Anwar Sadat entitled "Ya Sadat, Ya Habibna" (Sadat, Our Love).

However, Talaat departed from his uncle's policy of overture towards Israel by eluding the issue of further normalisation and taking an aggressive stand.

"If I am elected ... never will an Israeli tank come right up to our border and shoot down our sons," he told reporters, alluding to the killing of three Egyptian soldiers at the border with the Gaza Strip last year.

Talaat Sadat, from the small opposition Al-Ahrar (The Free) party, lambasted Mubarak, whom he accused of wrecking the country since succeeding his uncle in 1981.

"No political party can claim not to be infiltrated by the security services. They have a hand in every movement ... and run the country's political life," he charged.

"I am not satisfied with the country's security policies nor with the way Egyptians are being treated," he told the press.

Sadat, who will also run against a jailed Islamist leader convicted in his uncle's murder, vowed that one of the first points in his programme would be to lift the state of emergency slapped on the country since that time.

With a small badge representing his uncle in full military attire pinned to his lapel, he also promised to free all political detainees and use the prisons for the country's benefit.

In another jab at the president, he referred to an anti-corruption tribunal set up under his uncle's 17-year tenure and said: "If Mubarak and his sons appeared in front of this court, they would be sentenced".

Sadat proposed slashing the budget of the interior ministry, which he estimated at six billion Egyptian pounds (more than one billion dollars).

He also said 46 billion dollars had illegally fled the country since Mubarak came to power and suggested the money should be returned to solve Egypt's debt problem.

"In my programme, I will request a list of names of those who have more than one million dollars in bank accounts in Switzerland and the United States," he said. "Sadat did not leave Egypt in such a state."

On Thursday, the Egyptian parliament approved an electoral bill setting out the legal framework for the upcoming vote.

It comes four months after Mubarak proposed, under domestic and international pressure, a constitutional amendment allowing multi-candidate elections.

Until now, Egyptians have only been able to say yes or no to a single candidate picked by parliament, which is overwhelmingly dominated by Mubarak's ruling National Democratic Party.

Sadat said he welcomed the constitutional change. "I was surprised by Mubarak's proposal which, by the grace of God, he made in Menufeya (both men's home province) on my birthday."

He nevertheless echoed the opposition's complaints that the electoral law was too restrictive and barred other candidates from mounting a serious challenge to the 77-year-old leader, who is expected to seek a fifth mandate.

 

US approves $7 billion in arms deals to Arab allies

US says 50,000 IS jihadists killed in Iraq, Syria since 2014

Six killed in Egypt bomb blast

British FM says Saudi, Iran engaging in 'proxy wars'

Qatar to invest up to $13bn on 'mega projects' in 2017

400 migrants storm Spanish enclave border

IS claims Egypt cleric murders, threatens Sufis

UN Syria envoy planning to meet Trump team

Israel arrests alleged Hamas kidnap plotters

Greek court rejects extraditing last two Turkish 'coup' officers

Russian student faces jail after following IS lover to Syria

Yazidi leader calls on international community to help

UN reiterates fears for Aleppo children

Libya finds 266 IS bodies in former jihadist bastion Sirte

Turkey targets German diplomats at airports in revenge move

Aleppo White Helmets call for safe passage

Germany seeks to conclude training deal with Saudi

Egypt arrests son of former Islamist president

Israel joins forces with Greece, Cyprus to fight fire

Erdogan advisor says foreign TV chefs are spies

'No progress' in Kerry, Lavrov Syria meeting

Air force strikes IS fighters in western Iraq

Saudi arms self sufficiency may take years says chief

IS kills at least 26 Syrian regime fighters in Homs

Rosneft shares leap after deal with Glencore, Qatar

150 rescued from Aleppo health facility

Russia demands jail for student accused of trying to join IS

IS video reveals kidnapped British journalist alive

Two Hamas militants killed in Gaza tunnel collapse

Israel votes to approve settler homes bill

Dozens of civilians killed in Iraq air strike

Syrian regime confident of Aleppo victory

Libya's key oil region threatened by renewed fighting

Syria rebels call for Aleppo ceasefire

Rebel rockets scar west Aleppo residents

Egypt jails prominent NGO activist

Turkish soldier killed in Syria bomb blast

IS-linked group ousted from Somalia town

Kerry, Lavrov to resume Syria talks Wednesday

Egypt’s 'three-year strategy' seeks to revive struggling economy

Iraqis swarm to remarry after liberation from ‘caliphate’

Four drown, 34 rescued off Morocco coast

Israel to vote on bill to legalise West Bank settlements

Turkish businessmen embrace Erdogan’s plan to boost lira

Battle for Mosul advances deeper into city