Egypt: Court investigates politican after call for early elections

Egypt: Court investigates politican after call for early elections
A court in Egypt is conducting an investigation into an Islamist politician days after he called for early presidential elections and said the government had created a 'republic of fear'.
3 min read
23 November, 2015
Aboul Fotouh ran for president in the 2012 elections [Getty]
An Egyptian court is investigating a former presidential candidate for allegedly "undermining the state" and "insulting the presidency", after he suggested last week that there should be early presidential elections.

A court in Egypt's second city Alexandria began investigating the head of the Strong Egypt Party Abd al-Moniem Aboul Fotouh on Sunday after a third party lawyer lodged a series of complaints against him and accused him of being a member of the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood.

In an interview last Thursday with BBC Arabic, Aboul Fotouh called for early presidential elections and criticised the ongoing parliamentary elections.

"The alternative to early presidential elections is either a military coup against the current regime, or chaos. The parliamentary elections are being fought between supporters and supporters [of the state] - there is no opposition," he said.

See Also: Egypt elections: low turnout and empty polling centres

The former presidential candidate added that president Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi had created a "republic of fear" which has failed to bring about any significant changes.
     The alternative to early presidential elections is either a military coup against the current regime, or chaos.
- Aboul Fotouh, head of the Strong Egypt Party

"As for Sisi, we have had a year of his rule. There is a deterioration in the political sphere, in the economic sphere, the social sphere," Aboul Fotouh said in his first televised interview in nearly two years.

Members of the Strong Egypt party have repeated Aboul Fotouh's criticism.

"What Aboul Fotouh meant by calling for early presidential elections was that the head of the regime has become the main problem, blocking the path towards genuine democracy," Strong Egypt's spokesman, Ahmad Imam, told al-Araby al-Jadeed's Egypt correspondent.

"This is at a time when there are in increasing number of calls for the presidential term to be extended and for the constitution to be amended to allow Sisi to remain in power," Imam added.

A leader in the Strong Egypt Party said Aboul Fotouh's comments have come at an extremely sensitive time for Sisi with the fourth anniversary of the January 25 revolution coming up and Sisi's recent decline in popularity over the mismanagement of flooding in the north of the country.

Aboul Fotouh, a medical doctor by training, was once a member of the Muslim Brotherhood before formally quitting the organisation ahead of his run for president in 2012, in which he won 17.47 percent of the vote in the first round.

This is his second call in less than six months for early presidential elections after a plea for the same in June. He also called for early elections nine months into ousted president Mohammad Morsi's tenure when he said that his policies weren't going to help the country achieve the goals of the 2011 revolution.

Earlier this month, prominent investigative journalist Hossam Bahgat was detained then released by military intelligence for "publishing false information".

Bahgat had recently written an article about the military trial of 26 officers who were accused and convicted of planning a coup.