CAIRO - Egypt should refuse a $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund rather than submit to terms that would further impoverish the poor and could spark a revolution of the hungry, leftist leader Hamdeen Sabahi said on Monday.
Sabahi, 58, who came third in a presidential election last year after the 2011 uprising that toppled autocratic President Hosni Mubarak, told Reuters that neither the global lender nor Egypt's Islamist-led government had told the public the truth about austerity conditions attached to the proposed loan.
The firebrand leader of the Popular Current movement met an IMF team that visited Cairo this month for talks which ended without an agreement partly due to a lack of political consensus to support the accompanying economic reform program.
Asked whether he would agree to the IMF's conditions, Sabahi said: "No. I would not agree to them."
"If you look at any country the IMF has gone into, you will find that poverty has increased," he said in an interview in his modest 13th-floor apartment in a middle-class district of the capital. "Talk about plugging a budget deficit does not get food to the people."