Ex-army chief to run in Egypt's presidential elections

CAIRO — A former Egyptian army chief of staff will contest the upcoming presidential elections in March, said a top aide on Friday, as other candidates have faced heavy pressure to drop out and pave the way for a sweeping re-election victory for the army-chief-turned-President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.

Ragab Helal Hemida, the head of the policies committee in the Egypt Arabism Democratic party, told The Associated Press on Friday that Lt. Gen. Sami Annan has accepted his party's candidacy nomination. He added that Annan will hold a press conference at the party's headquarters soon to announce his decision. Elections are scheduled to take place on March 26-28.

Hemida said that el-Sissi's popularity has taken a blow after painful austerity measures saw a large sector of Egyptians falling into poverty or economic hardship. He added that under el-Sissi Egypt's human rights record has sharply deteriorated.

"The bet is on the people who are suffering," and securing their votes, he said. Asked if Islamists may be among them, he said "all Egyptians not only Islamists."

Under the constitution, to qualify for the presidential race any would-be candidate must gather formal recommendations from at least 20 elected members of parliament, or alternatively 25,000 recommendations from voters, from at least 15 of Egypt's 29 provinces. Rather than waiting for el-Sissi to seek recommendations, the vast majority of lawmakers in Egypt's parliament — packed with el-Sissi loyalists — rushed to offer them first.

El-Sissi's re-election appears to be a forgone conclusion and he is expected to secure an easy victory for a second four-year term. Other candidates have faced immense pressure to drop out.

The most serious challenger to el-Sissi, former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq, came under pressure to withdraw his candidacy after he was allegedly deported from the UAE — where he was self-exiled — shortly after he announced his presidential bid. Shafiq, an ex-air force general who finished a close second behind the Islamist Mohammed Morsi in the 2012 election, is believed to have been forced to issue a statement rescinding his intention to run and placed under house arrest.

Another hopeful, Army Col. Ahmed Konsowa, was court martialed and sentenced to six years in prison for breaching military regulations prohibiting political activism. Prominent rights campaigner Khaled Ali would not be eligible to run if he loses his appeal against a conviction last September on charges of making an obscene gesture in public.

Annan, Shafiq, and el-Sissi come from the ranks of military from which most of Egyptian presidents have hailed since 1950s. Annan and el-Sissi were members of the country's military council which led Egypt during a tumultuous transition after the ouster of the country's longtime autocratic president Hosni Mubarak in the country's 2011 uprising.

After the election of the country's first Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in 2012, Morsi fired both Annan and the head of the military council, Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, amid mistrust and fallouts between Islamists and the army. Annan and Tantawi — popularly referred to as "el-Sissi's godfather" — were known to be at odds. Since his forced retirement by Morsi, Annan has retreated from public life.

The 69-year-old Annan had strong ties with the U.S. under and after Mubarak as he was tasked with trips to Washington to negotiate U.S. aid to the country. He is considered a pragmatic figure open to compromise and political dialogue with all rivals, including the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group. The country's oldest Islamist organization became the government's number one enemy and was crushed in a heavy security crackdown after the ouster of Morsi by the military in July 2013. The army chief at the time, el-Sissi won the first post-Morsi presidential vote with a landslide victory.

Hemida said that el-Sissi has adopted a hostile attitude toward Annan after feeling threatened by Annan's declaration to contest the 2014 elections, which he later rescinded. Annan has not been invited to any official ceremonies headed by el-Sissi, he said.

Hemida added that Shafiq was forced by authorities to drop his presidential bid and that he is currently confined. "All his phones are turned off ... no one goes to his house and only his lawyer and a few people are allowed to visit him," he said.

Asked if Annan could face the same pressures, he said "this is possible... but if they do so, they would be very stupid."

Must Read

New boy muppet in Afghanistan promotes gender...

Jul 15, 2017

A new muppet is joining the cast of Afghanistan's version of "Sesame Street: Zeerak, who will show...

The Latest: 2 US troops killed in Afghanistan...

Aug 2, 2017

Two U.S. service members were killed in a suicide bombing attack on a NATO convoy near Kandarhar in...

Trump will address path forward on Afghanistan

Aug 20, 2017

White House announces that President Donald Trump would address the nation's troops and the...

US historian who spent decades in Afghanistan...

Sep 10, 2017

An American historian who spent decades in Afghanistan working to preserve the heritage of the...

Civilians hurt by US airstrike responding to...

Sep 27, 2017

The Taliban unleashed a barrage of rockets at the Kabul international airport that the insurgents...

People also read these

New boy muppet in Afghanistan promotes gender...

Jul 15, 2017

A new muppet is joining the cast of Afghanistan's version of "Sesame Street: Zeerak, who will show...

Watchdog: Tight security hinders oversight of US...

Aug 1, 2017

The U.S. watchdog tasked with overseeing the spending of U.S. aid to Afghanistan said unprecedented...

The Latest: IS attack targets Afghanistan's...

Aug 25, 2017

Officials say an attack on a mosque in the Afghan capital of Kabul has killed at least 20 people...

Suicide bomber kills 3 outside Afghan cricket...

Sep 13, 2017

Afghan officials say a suicide bomber has struck outside a cricket stadium during a match in the...

Hospital official says 5 killed in Afghan suicide...

Sep 29, 2017

Hospital official says at least five people killed and 20 wounded in a suicide bombing outside a...

Weather, 20 December
Houston Weather

High: +11° Low: -2°

Humidity: 83%

Wind: NNE - 7 KPH

Canberra Weather

High: +27° Low: +17°

Humidity: 87%

Wind: W - 20 KPH

Roissy-en-France Weather

High: +6° Low: -5°

Humidity: 87%

Wind: ENE - 7 KPH

Florence Weather

High: +9° Low: +6°

Humidity: 97%

Wind: ENE - 17 KPH

Parga Weather

High: +16° Low: +4°

Humidity: 100%

Wind: SE - 25 KPH

About Us

Get all the up-to-date breaking news about politics, business, entertainment, sports, lifestyles, weather, traffic, and local news in a seamless digital environment only in Morning Dispatcher.

Contact us: sales@morningdispatche.com

Subscribe Now!

Quick Links