No Nour Party candidate, but many ideas for other presidential hopefuls

The Salafi Nour Party would not field a candidate in the upcoming presidential elections, according to a statement the party released on Monday.

Nour would wait until all the nominations for candidature would be announced before deciding to back the candidate that would be “most capable of leading the country.”

Presidential hopefuls can officially register to run in the election on February 15.

The party’s support of a candidate would be contingent on several factors, including the candidate’s electoral program, which issues he prioritizes and how the candidate would plan to tackle these issues, the statement said.

Nour backed Abdel Moneim Abouel Fotouh in the first round of the 2013 presidential election, and then deposed President Mohamed Morsi in the runoff.

After the mass June 30 protests that prompted the army to remove Morsi from power, the Nour Party played an integral role in giving the process legitimacy by endorsing the army’s “roadmap” as well as the interim government. It was one of the only Islamist forces represented in the committee tasked with drafting the Constitution.

It later campaigned for a “yes” vote in the constitutional referendum held in mid-January, where a sweeping majority voted to pass the charter.

After the Constitution passed, the roadmap was altered so that presidential elections would take place before parliamentary elections, contrary to the long-standing demands of several activists.

While most candidates have remained elusive on whether they intend to run in the upcoming presidential race, leftist politician Hamdeen Sabbahi said on Saturday that he would run, representing himself as the candidate which forces of the revolution can rally around.

On the other hand, Abouel Fotouh said he would not run, while his Strong Egypt Party also said it would not field a candidate.

Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has yet to confirm his intent to bid for the country’s top post, but it is believed he will run, especially after the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces empowered him to nominate himself in response to popular demand.

Another possible candidate with a military background is Sami Anan, former Armed Forces chief of staff.

While it will not field a candidate itself, the Nour Party did outline a daunting list of issues it believes are vital for any electoral program.

On domestic issues, the Nour Party said the candidate must make clear how he or she would plan to achieve national consensus and mend rifts in society based on principles of social justice, and how to empower youth to actively participate in political life.

It also underscored the need to form neutral fact-finding committees that would investigate all events that occurred in the aftermath of July 3, when Morsi was removed from power.

A strategy to combat violent acts by armed groups was also on top of the list, but at the same time, the candidate should halt actions that unjustly implicate those who practice social and political work, or proselytize Islam (Dawah).

Combating corruption and cementing a process for a viable system of power rotation that abides by constitutional principles were also key points for the party, as was adopting and activating a charter for media ethics.

The statement also said candidates must clarify how they view the military institution’s role in political life, while preserving the status of the army according to national consensus.

Modernizing security apparatuses in the context of the law and human rights, managing border issues, developing rural areas and supporting Al-Azhar in maintaining its leading role in Egypt and abroad were among the key domestic issues candidates must address.

On economic reform, the Nour Party said candidates need to tackle the widening budget deficit, the lack of resources and Egypt’s reliance on loans, as well as figure out how to achieve social justice while determining the role of the public and private sectors.

The party went on to advise candidates to focus on legislative issues, namely how to activate Article 2 of the Constitution, which addresses Sharia. It also asked candidates to highlight their views on the president’s ability to propose and pass laws until a parliament would be elected, as well as the law governing the upcoming parliamentary election, and how it would strengthen political parties.

Among the social issues at hand, the statement listed the “crises of moral chaos in Egyptian streets,” drug use and religious and ideological extremism, which it said includes hardline fundamentalism (takfirism) and violence on the one hand, and atheism or belittling Sharia on the other. It also pointed to a weak cultural infrastructure, unemployment, meeting the demands of citizens’ special needs and developing informal urban areas as pivotal factors in any electoral campaign.

The lengthy outline of thinking points for potential candidates also included matters of foreign policy, developing the services sector and ensuring a balance between national security and freedom of expression or the right to protest. 

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