Wednesday,20 March, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1378, (25 -31 January 2018)
Wednesday,20 March, 2019
Issue 1378, (25 -31 January 2018)

Ahram Weekly

Anan’s three-day presidential bid ends with his arrest

Ex military chief of staff Sami Anan’s short-lived presidential campaign has ended with his arrest


Al-Ahram Weekly

The presidential election, scheduled for March and which two weeks ago appeared lacklustre is now replete with unexpected, if far from nuanced, developments.

When TV anchor Amr Adib hosted a former military legal advisor on his talk on Monday evening to discuss the legal aspect of Anan’s presidential bid few could have anticipated it would be a prelude to Anan’s arrest the following day.

In the early hours of Sunday Anan, 69, released a five-minute recorded video, a succinct statement of his intention to run for president which made the rounds on social media. By Tuesday he had been detained by military police after the Armed Forced summoned Anan for questioning over his presidential bid.

Anan’s campaign immediately suspended activities, citing concerns for the “safety” of the campaign team.

An Armed Forces statement said that Anan, who was forced to retire in 2012, had not sought the permissions required to run for president or taken the steps necessary to terminate his military service. It accused him of “blatant” incitement against the military with the intention of “driving a wedge” between the army and the Egyptian people and of forging documents stating his service with the military had ended in order to run for president. As a result he was wrongly listed as an eligible voter, according to the statement, and legal action against Anan’s  “violations and crimes” would now be taken.

Until former president Mohamed Morsi forced Anan and then defence minister Mohamed Hussein Tantawi into retirement the two men were at the helm of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, Egypt’s de facto ruler after Hosni Mubarak stepped down following the January 2011 popular uprising.

Out of service Anan kept a low profile until 2014 when he announced his intention to stand in the first presidential election that followed Morsi’s ouster, though he quickly backtracked. Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi, appointed defence minister by Morsi, then resigned from the Armed Forces to contest the election which he won with 96.9 per cent of the vote.

In his five-minute long video Anan appeared in a dark civilian suit and read the announcement he would run for president from a paper.

“Sovereigns in a sovereign homeland,” his statement began, borrowing from the 2014 introduction to the Egyptian constitution penned by late poet Sayed Hegab.

He said Egypt faced a number of challenges, chief among them terrorism, “deteriorating” living standards of Egyptians, and the “erosion” of the state’s ability to deal with land and water issues and manage natural resources. He blamed this on “wrong” policies and the “absence” of good governance which would allow the civilian sector to play a complementary role alongside the military.

Anan spoke of the need for a multi-party political system which respects the constitution and law, “believes in freedoms” and preserves the “spirit of justice” and principles of the republican system.

“This can be realised by power sharing between the legislative, executive and judicial authorities. A system capable of managing diversity and difference and which respects the decisions and dignity of the people,” he said.

He announced his intention to submit his nomination documents to the election authority as soon as he had completed the procedures required of him as a former military chief of staff. In his statement Anan directly addressed the Armed Forces, asking them not to take sides and maintain their neutrality in the presidential election.

Anan appointed two deputies, former head of the Central Auditing Organisation Hisham Geneina, and Cairo University political science professor Hazem Hosni.

In a telephone interview with Adib on Monday evening Hosni couldn’t respond to a question on Anan’s completion of the process required to secure the approval of the Armed Forces for his presidential bid. 

Following the issue of a publishing gag it was unclear, as Al-Ahram Weekly went to press on Tuesday evening, if Anan’s questioning had begun.

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