Mubarak ally launches bid for Egypt presidency

Mubarak ally launches bid for Egypt presidency
General Sami Anan has declared he will stand in Egypt's forthcoming elections.
2 min read
12 January, 2018
Sami Anan is a former military chief who enjoys Saudi backing [Anadolu Archive: 2014]
Sami Anan, a former chief of staff of Egypt's armed forces, on Thursday announced his intention to run in the country's presidential elections due to take place in March.

"The party leaders took a decision for General Sami Anan's candidacy and informed him of the decision and there was no problem at all and no objection [from him]," Sami Balah, the secretary general of the Arabism Egypt Party, told reporters, according to Reuters.

The 68-year-old is thought to have enjoyed the support of senior Saudi officials for some time.

"Saudi circles have begun taking action to support a candidate in the 2018 presidential elections. Anan's name has been repeated many times recently following reports that 2012 losing candidate Ahmad Shafiq was preparing to announce his candidacy," an anonymous Egyptian political source told The New Arab as long ago as 2016.

Anan served as the chief of staff of Egypt's Supreme Council of Armed Forces under President Hosni Mubarak from 2005 to 2011, commanding 468,000 troops.

Following the 2011 uprising, he became second in command of the army, behind Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, however, in August 2012, Egypt's first democratically elected president, Morsi, dismissed both Tantawi and Anan.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is widely expected to run for and win a second four-year term, but he has yet to formally announce his candidacy.

In December, a military court sentenced an army colonel to six years in prison after he announced his intention to run against Sisi.

Another potential candidate is Ahmed Shafiq, a retired air force general who served as the last prime minister under dictator Hosni Mubarak, ousted in a popular uprising in 2011.

Sources have told The New Arab that Shafiq is being held in Cairo's JW Marriott hotel by military police since he was deported by authorities in the United Arab Emirates.

The former general was forced to leave the Gulf country - where he had been living in exile since 2012 - after he announced his intention to run in next year's election.

Shafiq has since said he needs to "further study" his plans before he makes a final decision on whether he will run.

Egypt has waged a massive crackdown on dissent since Sisi led the military overthrow of an elected but divisive Islamist president in 2013.