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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 December, 2004, 16:29 GMT
Egypt feminist in presidency bid
Nawal Saadawi in 2001 (file photo)
Nawal Saadawi has enraged conservatives with her views
Feminist Egyptian author and doctor Nawal Saadawi says she will stand in next year's presidential elections.

She told AFP news agency she did not expect to win, but wanted to get the Egyptian people "moving" to vote on important issues facing the country.

If the 73-year-old's candidacy goes forward, she would be the first woman to run for the presidency.

Ms Saadawi's outspoken feminist views on sex and religion have in the past led to her imprisonment and censorship.

"I am going to stand in the presidential election, not to win but to get the Egyptian people moving in favour of a reform of the constitution and to oppose corruption and American colonialism," she told AFP.

The presidential elections are due to be held next October, when incumbent Hosni Mubarak's fourth term expires.

Mr Mubarak, 76, has said in the past that he would not run for another six years in office, but it is widely assumed that he will in the absence of any obvious successor.

Push for reform

Under the current constitution, Ms Saadawi's campaign is unlikely to have any legal status because only parliament - which is dominated by the ruling party - can nominate the sole presidential candidate, whose name then goes to a referendum.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak
Mubarak is expected to go for a fifth six-year term next year
"I want to get moving 70 million Egyptian men and women who are currently just spectators without a voice and without power," she told AFP.

She is among a number of dissidents who are pushing for constitutional change in Egypt.

In November, some 700 activists and intellectuals published a petition calling for direct elections and a limit to the number of terms in office a president can serve.

Ms Saadawi is one of the most widely translated contemporary Egyptian authors and has written many books on women and gender issues.

But her views have often enraged the country's conservatives and Islamists, and led to death threats, court cases and imprisonment.

In 2001, she was accused of being a heretic after a newspaper quoted her as saying the Muslim Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca had pagan roots and women should inherit the same as men.

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