In a video statement released by his campaign on Wednesday, Hamdeen Sabbahi explained that he has decided to stay in the electoral race, despite violations against his campaign, out of respect for his voters, adding that continuing in the elections until the end will carve the way for a stronger democratic front.
“With a message of love and hope to those asking me to withdraw, I am telling them that withdrawal is beneath us. We have entered a challenge and we will continue in it until the end. There are millions by our calculations who gave us their votes and didn’t let us down, I can’t let them down,” he said.
Withdrawal could take away the democratic camps’ right to participate in future battles, including the parliamentary elections and municipal elections.
“We started a sincere quest to put the revolution in power and build a true force for a democratic current demanding social equality and national independence,” he said.
Sabbahi’s campaign has reported several violations against its members throughout the first two days of the elections, including denying them access to polling stations, and the assault and arrest of observers.
The campaign also expressed its objection to the sudden decision of the Presidential Election Commission to extend the voting for a third day. Sabbahi withdrew observers from polling stations in protest, saying that the move casts doubt on the integrity of the whole election.
Several of Sabbahi’s supporters called on him to withdraw his candidacy in a gesture that would delegitimize the process.
In his statement, Sabbahi said that he respects the arguments of those who call on him to withdraw, but that he has decided to continue in the race following conversations with all sides.
Despite being largely seen as a mission destined for failure, Sabbahi said that his quest has already made gains by creating a viable alternative and discrediting state propaganda.
“If we hadn’t run, we wouldn’t have uncovered the illusions that were trying to force themselves on the Egyptian consciousness,” he said.
Prior to the elections, the media repeatedly propagated the expectation that huge crowds would take to the polls in support of former Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al- Sisi. The underwhelming turnout raises questions about Sisi’s popularity.
Sabbahi said that, while he will continue in the race until the end, the campaign’s final position on the process would be determined and announced based on the three days of voting.