Opposition withdraws, giving Egypt's Sisi clear run to presidency

Herbert Rhodes
January 25, 2018

He was detained by Egyptian authorities on Tuesday over alleged violations of military law.

However, after he announced his presidential run, he claimed that the UAE, a major Sisi ally and funder, was preventing him from traveling to Egypt.

Veteran air forces commander and former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq, who fled Egypt after narrowly losing to Morsi in the 2012 elections, announced earlier in January his withdrawal from the presidential race after coming back to Egypt from the United Arab Emirates, where he spent the past five years.

In a televised statement broadcast Saturday, Anan announced his decision to run in elections slated for March.

But the lawyer had faced nearly insurmountable challenges from the start, initially in the form of a court case accusing him of making "an obscene gesture" outside a Cairo court.

On Tuesday, top army officials said Annan had failed to follow regulations before announcing his candidacy, which require officers to formally end their service and ask for permission from the central command.

He is also accused of forging official documents that said he has completed his military service, and of inciting a rift between the Armed Forces and the Egyptian public.

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The circumstances of his arrest were not clear, but there were unconfirmed reports that he was arrested by military intelligence personnel while being chauffeured in Cairo en route to his campaign headquarters.

"Anan is among a growing number of candidates arrested or convicted on trumped up charges by the Egyptian authorities", the London-based rights group said in a statement.

"We've reached a state of madness in Egypt", said Al-Shal, the office manager.

The security forces, meantime, are confronting an Isis (Islamic State) affiliate, based in the North Sinai province, that has steadily killed police and soldiers and staged numerous attacks on civilians throughout the country.

He also could have gotten votes from secular pro-democracy activists and supporters of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, two camps that have been targeted in a massive crackdown on dissent under el-Sissi that has jailed thousands, mostly Islamists.

Sisi, who was elected president a year after heading the 2013 military ouster of Islamist leader Mohamed Morsi, on Wednesday officially submitted his application to run for a second four-year term. Under el-Sissi, links to the Brotherhood are grounds for prosecution. Former lawmaker Mohamed Anwar Sadat, a nephew of former President Anwar Sadat, withdrew his candidacy, also citing the failure to uphold democratic norms.

In his candidacy announcement on Saturday, Anan had criticized what he described as "the deterioration of living standards for the Egyptian people and the erosion of the Egyptian state's ability to deal with the issues of land, water and human resources".

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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