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Sami Anan announces he won’t run for president

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Sami Anan greets Mike Mullen in Cairo. Source: Wikipedia Commons

Sami Anan greets Mike Mullen in Cairo. Source: Wikipedia Commons

Former Egyptian military chief of staff Sami Anan announced on Thursday that we would not be contesting the country’s upcoming presidential elections.

Flanked by journalist Mostafa Bakri, former General Hassan El-Roweiny and other figures from the camp of defense minister and current military commander in chief Field Marshal Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi, Anan said he would not be seeking election, leaving Sisi as the only military candidate and frontrunner for the poll.

Anan referred to himself as a leader and fighter who worked for Egypt’s advancement during his time as a Lieutenant General and deputy leader of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces that ruled the country following the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak.

He hailed Sisi’s predecessor and his former boss Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi as a great leader and said he backed Egypt’s march towards freedom, democracy and building a strong patriotic state. Anan did not mention Sisi by name, however, and did not officially endorse him.

Sisi is yet to officially announce his candidacy but has dropped his strongest hint yet at a military academy graduation ceremony last week where he said he would not “abandon the demands of the Egyptian people.”

Egyptian law requires Sisi, who also serves as deputy prime minister, to officially relinquish all military posts before being eligible for the presidency.

The military chief’s popularity has considerably risen since his ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi and is widely expected to easily win the upcoming elections.

Written by Ahmed Aboulenein

March 13, 2014 at 2:25 pm

Al-Sisi asks journalist to lead campaign for him to maintain military leadership shows leaked sound clip

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General Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi. Source: Egyptian military official Facebook page

General Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi. Source: Egyptian military official Facebook page

General Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi asked a top newspaper editor to lead a campaign securing his position as Minister of Defence whether or not he runs for or wins in presidential elections.

“You are supposed to lead a campaign with intellectuals for a clause in the constitution that safeguards General Al-Sisi’s position as Minister of Defence and allows him to resume his role even if he does not enter the presidency,” the country’s strongman could be heard saying in a leaked sound clip from his interview with Al-Masry Al-Youm editor in chief Yasser Rizk.

The interview was published in a three-part series in the nation’s leading privately owned newspaper but did not include that quote. Al-Masry Al-Youm, like most Egyptian news organisations following the military’s ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi in July, has a pro-military stance.

The leak was posted by the RASSD news website. RASSD is known for its support for the Muslim Brotherhood from which Morsi hailed and is largely seen as being run by the Islamist organisation.

Al-Masry Al-Youm has posted a story saying the sound clip is fabricated and that it was suing RASSD for EGP 50 million, about $7.2 million. The voice featured in the clip sounds exactly like Al-Sisi’s voice however.

RASSD had previously posted three leaked videos of Al-Sisi in September of a meeting he had with military leaders in December of last year. The videos made obvious attempts at taking what Al-Sisi was saying out of context but the sound clip released today is more clear cut and does not leave room for interpretation.

Al-Sisi enjoys overwhelming popularity in Egypt following his ouster of Morsi in July. He refused to answer Rizk’s question on whether or not he would run for the presidency but did not rule it out.

The general appointed Supreme Constitutional Court Chief Justice Adly Mansour as the country’s interim president following the ouster of Morsi but is seen as holding actual power in Egypt. He is the military Commander in Chief, Minister of Defence, and following Morsi’s ouster he was also appointed First Deputy Prime Minister.

In late July he called on Egyptians to take to the streets and offer him and the police their support in their efforts to “combat terrorism” which is shorthand for the state’s crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood.

The following months security forces shot dead over 800 pro-Morsi demonstrators in the Raba’a Al-Adawiya mosque and Nahda Square sit-ins. The protestors were not peaceful but claims over how heavily they were armed were later found out to be widely exaggerated, the Minister of Interior later admitted.

Islamists responded with massive church burning campaign as well as repeated instances of shooting soldiers and policemen. Dozens have been killed in violence between civilians since as well.

Written by Ahmed Aboulenein

October 11, 2013 at 1:06 am

Morsy’s meeting the Supreme Council of the Judiciary: nothing has changed

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President Mohamed Morsy said he respects and appreciates the judiciary, he’s assured the judges that their independence would never be compromised. Although the president expressed such sentiment, practically speaking he has not offered the judges any concessions.

He said there would be no amendments to the constitutional decree and that protection from legal review would be for “acts of sovereignty” only.

The president’s spokesperson did not define what an “act of sovereignty” is exactly or who decides whether a decision is indeed an “act of sovereignty” or a regular administrative decision.

The president can issue a decision, call it an “act of sovereignty” and it would have to be proven otherwise first before it can even be challenged in a court.

The traditional definition of “act of sovereignty” which includes things like declaring war and changing the country’s borders have always been protected from judicial oversight in Egypt, the president did not need to issue a constitutional decree saying that unless he intends to expand what “acts of sovereignty” encompass.

He also said that reopening investigations in cases of killing protestors during the revolution mentioned in the decree would only be in cases where new evidence appears.

This affirms what many in the opposition were saying, which is that the president included things in his decree to appear as if he’s meeting revolutionary demands in order to mask a power grab. It is highly unlikely that new evidence in crimes of killing protestors during the 18-day uprising of 2011 will appear simply because between Mubarak’s police and prosecutors, all evidence has been properly disposed of.

An important thing to note, however, is there was a high turnout at the judges’ general assembly meeting on Saturday where they released a statement condemning the decree and voted for a judicial strike. This means that the judges may not approve of the outcome of the meeting between the president and their leaders and may even opt for a vote of no confidence, although that would mostly be a symbolic move.

Finally, the Muslim Brotherhood has called off tomorrow’s protest, stating their wish to avoid clashes and bloodshed. They had initially changed the venue from Abdeen to in front of Cairo University in order to stay away from Tahrir Square where the opposition intends to stage a million man protest tomorrow but the Brotherhood have now postponed their protest altogether.

Written by Ahmed Aboulenein

November 26, 2012 at 11:55 pm