Egypt’s opposition criticizes Saad el Din Ibrahim’s support of pro-Gamal petition

Egypt’s opposition criticizes Saad el Din Ibrahim’s support of pro-Gamal petition

The signing has aggravated political opposition forces, which view the action as condoning Egypt’s current constitution and its flaws undermining their call for political change. Ibrahim was jailed for three years on charges of damaging Egypt’s image in his political articles. However he was later acquitted and was released in 2003, moving to the United States shortly after.

“The move by Ibrahim, a long-time critic of President Hosni Mubarak and who spent three years in jail highlights divisions in the opposition which analysts say needs unity to mobilise the masses in its call for change before the 2011 presidential vote”.

Ibrahim’s family defended his motives highlighting that he signed the petition solely on the grounds that he believes every Egyptian has a right to run for the elections. But members of the opposition criticized the move.

Hassan Nafaa from the NAC criticized Ibrahim arguing that there seems to be more than meets the eye stating

 “It is either that (Ibrahim) is perturbed from years of exile abroad after state persecution or there is a deal with the government he accepted to avoid further harassment

Analysts note that the pro-Gamal petition was a response to an online petition that supported a call for constitutional change and supported by the Muslim Brotherhood. So far the petition has collected a total of over 700, 000 signatures.

 Karima Hifnawy from the Kefaya group notes that Gamal was from the ruling regime stressing that “If (Ibrahim) was a true dissident he would never support Gamal.

The biggest political opposition the Muslim Brotherhood however claims it had not read the pro-Gamal petition signed by Ibrahim, it maintains however that everyone is entitled to run in a free vote. Dr. Mohamed el-Beltagy from the MB parliamentary bloc asserts that nevertheless “backing a Gamal candidacy means accepting the faults in the constitution.”

Ibrahim’s family ascertains that his policy in the past was to support former IAEA chief Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei and Ayman Nour for their right to run for elections and now supports Gamal as long as he runs through the proper channels.

The private newspaper al-Masry al-Youm described the signing as a “surprise” highlighting that Ibrahim justified his move by saying power would not be “inherited” if it involved a free vote.

Related, poor districts in Cairo have witnessed a poster campaign backing Gamal which analysts say aims to win over the poor who grumble that economic liberalization has only helped the rich.