Egypt’s former military chief in presidential race

Cairo, Feb 17: Former Egyptian military chief of staff, Sami Anan, will join the country’s upcoming presidential race, Anan’s media office announced Sunday.

The office said the ex-military official will soon make a public announcement on his candidacy, Xinhua reported.

Once a military adviser for ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, Anan is facing criticism from supporters of Military Chief and Defence Minister Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, who accuse him of being “the candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood”, which is now blacklisted by the interim government as a “terrorist organisation.”

Since Sisi led Morsi’s removal last July, his popularity has grown in the turmoil-stricken country with many of his supporters calling on him to run for president.

The military chief has neither confirmed nor denied his intention to compete in the upcoming presidential race.

However, on Jan 11, Sisi said that if he runs for president, his candidacy would be based on “popular demand and a mandate from the army”. Two weeks later, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces officially “mandated” the army chief to join the presidential race.

Leftist leader Hamdeen Sabahy, who had previously voiced support for Sisi as “a national hero”, declared last week that he will run for president, becoming the first candidate to officially announce joining the race.