Tuesday, 21 August, 2018

Egyptian leader left with no major election challenger after another rival arrested

Egypt’s former army chief of staff Sami Anan speaks during a news conference in Cairo Egypt’s former army chief of staff Sami Anan speaks during a news conference in Cairo
Derrick Tucker | 25 January, 2018, 02:02

The first was Anan's declaration of his presidential intention without getting permission from the army - saying he was still subject to army recall.

The statement accused Anan, who was chief of the general staff of Egypt's armed forces from 2005 to 2012, of "violations and crimes", including document forgery and "incitement against the armed forces".

His candidacy announcement had come just hours after Sisi confirmed he would seek a second term in the March 26-28 election, the third since the 2011 overthrow of strongman Hosni Mubarak.

During his speech on the occasion of National Police Day, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi expressed his appreciation for the courage of policemen and their long-standing sacrifices to defend and protect the country.

With Annan out of the race, only one serious potential challenger is left: Prominent rights lawyer Khaled Ali.

With one would-be candidate after another dropping out of the race, analysts have said the election could end up being much like the one-candidate referendums for president that took place during decades of authoritarian rule in Egypt, a country of about 100 million people. A 10-day candidate registration has started on January 20, while electoral campaigns will kick off on February 24 and the result of the first round will be announced on April 2.

A former army chief, Sisi led a 2013 military coup against his democratically-elected predecessor, Mohamed Morsi, of the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. His campaign was halted in its tracks. The islands became an unexpectedly hard issue for Mr. Sisi because they aroused a wave of rare public anger in a country where public protest is largely outlawed.

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The letter has provided media loyal to President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi with ammunition to link the would-be candidate, former chief of staff Sami Annan, to the banned Brotherhood.

Ali meanwhile has appealed a three-month sentence in September on charges of offending public decency, in relation to a photograph that Ali says was fabricated and that appeared to show him making an obscene gesture outside a court house.

Mostafa Al-Shal, Anan's office manager, claimed that Anan had yet to even submit his candidacy papers to the election committee and had only "expressed his intention to run".

On Tuesday, another potential challenger for the presidency, Sami Anan, was arrested by the army.

When he announced last week he meant to run, he listed Egypt's achievements in his first term and said: "Building the state takes 16 to 20 years, I am trying to finish it in eight years, God willing". "We're talking about building, reconstruction and development", he said, clenching his fist in the air.

Ahmed Shafik, a former prime minister and air force chief, abandoned a bid this month, saying that after several years living overseas he was out of touch with Egyptian politics.

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