Egypt army says ex-military chief Sami Anan’s presidential bid is ‘incitement’
The Egyptian army announced in a statement that former military chief of staff and presidential candidate Sami Anan has been summoned over ‘violations’.
They added that Anan allegedly forged his end of army service document therefore his decision to run in the elections amounts to incitement against the military. They did not give any further details on the kind of violations he committed.
Egyptian Election Commission excluded ex-military Chief Sami Anan from candidates’ presidential list for sustaining his military status.
The army linked Anan to the Muslim brotherhood as a senior Muslim Brotherhood leader has written an open letter to the retired Egyptian army general seeking to run for president, listing the outlawed group’s conditions for supporting his candidacy against Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi.
Sisi is known to have also been a general-turned-president.
The letter by Muslim Brotherhood leader, Youssef Nada, posted on his Facebook account Monday, has provided media loyal to President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi with additional ammunition to link the would-be candidate, former chief of staff Sami Annan, to the banned Brotherhood.
Anan's Arabism Egypt party and the campaign
The former secretary of the policies committee in Anan’s Arabism Egypt Party, Ragab Helal Hemeda, claimed in a press conference on Tuesday that the presidential hopeful is allegedly using Muslim Brotherhood figures to push his nomination.
Hemeda announced his resignation at the conference and his support for Sisi, saying that he has the character of a real leader.
Annan’s campaign is in the process of collecting 25,000 signatures, or "recommendations," from voters so that he could meet a constitutional requirement to run. Alternatively, any would-be candidate must secure the support of at least 20 elected members or parliament, a 596-seat chamber packed with supporters of el-Sisi.
The retired general must also secure the approval of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, of which he was once a member, before he can proceed with his candidacy.
What are Anan's chances of winning?
The president’s triumph in the March 26-28 election is widely believed to be beyond doubt, but Annan could still be in with an outside chance given the widespread discontent among the majority of poor and middle-class Egyptians struggling harder than at any time in living memory to make ends meet as a result of el-Sisi’s ambitious economic reforms, which sent prices and services soaring.
Authorities have outlawed the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013 and have since accused it of taking up arms against the government. Under el-Sisi, links to the Brotherhood are sufficient grounds for prosecution.
As defense minister, el-Sisi led the military’s 2013 ouster of former president Mohammed Morsi, an Islamist and Brotherhood stalwart who became Egypt’s first freely elected leader in 2012. Ironically, Morsi, in jail since 2013, removed Annan and his boss, military chief Mohammed Tantawi in August 2012, replacing the latter with el-Sisi.
After removing Morsi, el-Sisi oversaw a massive crackdown against the Brotherhood and its supporters, jailing thousands of them and orchestrating the decimation of the nearly 90-year-old group.
Among the conditions Nada, who lives in exile in London, set for supporting Annan’s candidacy was the reinstatement of Morsi who, according to him, would then step down "in the interest of the nation." He also cited the "purging" of the police and judiciary and the release of political detainees.
Annan’s spokesman, Hazem Hosny, sought to distance the general from the Brotherhood, telling a television interviewer Monday night that the campaign rejects Nada’s conditions, but insisted that Islamists are an integral part of Egyptian society who should be included in the political process.
"We have Islamists (in Egypt), do we throw them in the sea or take them into the bosom of the nation?" he said.
Another hopeful besides Annan is rights lawyer Khaled Ali, an icon of the 2011 uprising who was convicted in September of making an obscene finger gesture in public. He denies the charge, but he would not be eligible to run if his conviction is upheld on appeal.