2018 Egyptian Presidential Race After several potential Bids for the Presidency, only 2 official candidates!

February 1st, 2018 by Editor

2018 Egyptian Presidential Race

After several potential Bids for the Presidency, only 2 official candidates!

 

The National Elections Commission (NEC) has officially announced the preliminary list of candidates for the upcoming presidential elections. The list included only 2 candidates, them being the incumbent president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Mr. Mousa Mostafa Mousa leader of El-Ghad Party.

NEC’s official announcement said that President el-Sisi has received 549 parliamentary endorsements and over 161 thousand popular endorsement, while Mr. Mousa received 20 Parliamentary endorsements. By that NEC has recognized the validity of Mr. Mousa and President el-Sisi’s official bid for the presidency after meeting the legal requirements and listed them as official candidates in accordance with the law.

However the picture is not smooth and clear as it seems. The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) noticed like all observers of the Egyptian political scene that several individuals have announced their intent to run for the presidency, however, none of them were successful in doing just that.

The former hopefuls:

1)Ahmed Shafik:

Air Marshal Ahmed Shafik, leader of the Egyptian Patriotic Movement party, a former commander of the Airforce, Mubarak’s last prime minister and a was presidential candidate in the 2012 presidential elections. Shafik fled the country after losing the 2012 presidential elections to Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood. Since then Shafik was in voluntary exile at the United Arab Emirates. General Shafik announced his intention to run in the 2018 elections against president el-Sisi in late November 2017. Days later Shafik was deported by UAE authorities to Egypt. Once Shafik landed in Cairo he was escorted by security forces to stay at an unnamed hotel in the Egyptian Capital until his house is “renovated”. Shafik supporters accused the government of kidnaping him until he gave a phone interview to a pro government TV show on an Egyptian private television channel where he reassured the public that he was alright and that he is reconsidering his bid for the presidency. General Shafik weeks later officially announced that he would not run for the presidency under extremely dubious circumstances.  

2) Ahmed Konsowa:

In December 2017 Ahmed Konsowa an Army Colonel posted a video on his social media account announcing his bid for the presidency. Konsowa was largely unknown to the public before this surprising appearance especially that Colonel Konsowa is still an active officer in military service. Colonel Konsowa was arrested by the military for violating military law by expressing political view while in service. Konsowa stood before a military court and was sentenced to 6 years in Jail.         

3) Sami Anan:

Lieutenant General Sami Hafez Anan, former chief of staff of the Armed Forces, and former deputy chairman of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. Arabism Egypt Party announced on the 12th of January that its nominating its founder Sami Anan for the 2018 elections. Days later on January 19th General Anan officially announced his intention to nominate himself in the 2018 elections after taking all the needed legal measures first. Anan like Shafik was subjected to a vicious campaign by pro-government media outlets loaded with accusations and allegations of corruption and even treason. On the 23rd of January the Military’s High Command issued a statement accusing General Anan of violating the law for running for the elections without the Military’s approval as military law requires especially that General Anan did not officially retire and is still part of the Armed Forces. The statement also accused Anan of stirring sedition between the people and the Armed Forces, and forgery of official documents so that his name can be included in the voters’ date base. The Military detained Anan, and announced that he will stand a military trail for his alleged offences and since then no further official information was provided due to a publication ban by the Military prosecutor.

4) Mohamed Anwar Sadat:

Mohamed Anwar Esmat Al Sadat, former member of parliament, former chairman of the Human Rights Committee in the House of representatives and nephew of former president Anwar Sadat. Sadat had intentions to run in the elections and was seeking to acquire parliamentary endorsements by his former colleagues. Mr. Sadat’s request was ignored by parliament and was unable to acquire the endorsements. Sadat withdrew from the race after asserting that there are no guarantees that members of his campaign will not be harassed by the state especially under the emergency laws the government has imposed. Sadat also accused the government of not respecting the people’s dignity and that he expects more violations in the future. It’s worth mentioning that Mr. Sadat was expelled from parliament last year after allegations of sharing information with foreign entities that discredit the House of Representatives. Sadat was also a vocal defender of human rights in parliament and a critique of fowl practices that violated human rights.  

5) Khaled Ali

Khaled Ali, a Human Rights Lawyer, former presidential candidate in the 2012 presidential elections and a vocal critique of President el-Sisi’ government.  Mr. Ali announced his intention to run for the elections months ago, however days after the arrest of Anan Khaled Ali withdrew from the race. Mr. Ali said that his campaign was subjected to harassments and that members of his campaign were arrested and some were charged with financing terrorism. Khaled Ali’s campaign gathered 19 thousand popular endorsements of the 25 thousand popular endorsements needed. Mr. Ali’s campaign did not seek any support from parliament. However, with his withdrawal the election scene was left empty without any candidates to face President el-Sisi who decided to run for reelection.  

6) Sayed Al Badawi    

Facing the disappearance of all serious contenders from the scene, the political elites started searching for a candidate to run in the elections that were about to become a one-man race. Sayed Al Badawi the leader of the Al Wafd Party was approached by many to run in the elections. However, the Party leaders convened and decided not to nominate Mr. Badawi due to the party’s prior pledge of support to president el-Sisi.

EOHR’s take

EOHR after observing and assessing the initial stages of the election process looks to the future with great concern. EOHR has noticed the media’s reaction to almost all potential candidates who decided to run against President el-Sisi. Both the public and private pro government media bombarded them with allegations ranging from treason to corruption while ardently and openly supporting president el-Sisi. This gave unfairly little and negative coverage to some candidates in favor of massive coverage and exposure to the president, and this is a violation of the most basic tenets of free and fair elections. The NEC gave candidates only 12 days to collect at least 25 thousand popular endorsements from 15 governorates or at least 20 parliamentary endorsements. This timeframe is extremely insufficient for candidates to be able to attain the legal requirements for his or her candidacy. The NEC should have extended entire frame of the electoral process which 120 days long. The constitution stipulated that 120 days were the minimum time period for the process and did not say the maximum. EOHR believes that the timeframe should have been at least 150 days long to give different political forces to adequately prepare for the elections. EOHR was also confused by parliament’s position on the elections. The institution abused its authority by granting president el-Sisi the endorsement of most of its members (549 out of 596 members) even though he needed only 20. This abuse blocked parliament as a channel of political rejuvenation and democratization as it made it harder for other potential candidates to acquire its approval and were left to attempt to collect 25 thousand popular endorsements instead within a very limited timeframe. The election law should have capped the maximum number of parliamentary endorsements to only one third of the house to leave the other 2 thirds to the rest of the candidates.  EOHR regrets the unhealthy atmosphere surrounding the election process which is expected to witness insignificant competition. EOHR is also concerned about reports of the lack of impartiality or naked bias of some state institutions for the president as opposed to the other candidate and calls upon the NEC and all governmental institutions to remain objective and impartial and uphold the rule of law for the sake of the integrity and legitimacy of the entire election process.                                                  

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