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.

 

Yemen government returns to Aden with eyes set on Sanaa

Arbil urges PKK to move out of Iraq Kurdistan

Syria army pushes back rebels near Latakia province

ISIS flexes muscles in eastern Libya

Iraq protesters vent anger over poor services

Egypt court postpones verdict on brother of Ayman al-Zawahiri

Immigration surpasses economy as major concern in Europe

Plane crash kills family members of Bin Laden

Erdogan calls for early elections if no coalition

Palestinian baby killed in arson attack by Jewish settlers

Kurds in Diyarbakir fear return to war

State of emergency in Tunisia extended

Jerusalem Gay Pride attack suspect lashes out in court

'Kurdish Obama' faces his biggest test

Yemen blockade 'killing' as many civilians as war

EU urges Israel to show 'zero tolerance for settler violence'

Cash-strapped Tunisia's Syphax airline grounds flights

Pentagon denies US-trained rebels captured in Syria

Morocco king calls for development of remote regions

Host of US celebrities endorses Iran nuclear deal

PKK braces for fight with Turkey in Iraq mountain bastions

Kurdish party chief dismisses Turkey anti-IS raids

Thomas Cook warns Tunisia attacks affect annual results

Three Al-Jazeera journalists await Egypt retrial verdict

Kuwait uncovers new IS cell

One Turkish police killed in attack blamed on PKK

Israel approves law allowing force feeding of prisoners

New sexist gaffe of Turkish deputy PM: 'As a woman, be quiet!

UN envoy invites Syrians to ‘thematic’ talks

Egypt's gift to the world: Suez Canal Axis

Pentagon to worried lawmakers: We will remain vigilant on Iran

Hamas calls for revolt against Palestinian Authority

ISIS claims deadly car bomb in Yemen capital

Allies tolerate Turkey's double game to boost IS fight

Somalia ‘making progress’ despite insecurity and election delay

Germany, Iraqi Kurds say Turkey should resume peace process

Syria skeptical about Turkey's intentions in fight against ISIS

Somalia indentifies hotel bomber as former German resident

US gets formal approval to use Incirlik air base in Turkey

Saudi policeman killed, 2 injured in attack

Israel PM approves 300 settler homes in occupied West Bank

Jordan jails 8 for "plotting a terrorist act"

Israel committed war crimes on 'Black Friday'

Israeli strike on Syrian town kills 5 pro-regime fighters

Yemen orders militia to merge with army