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Egypt: Barred presidential challenger spokesman attacks Sisi over election crackdown

Sisi is virtually certain of winning a second, four-year term [Getty]

Date of publication: 5 February, 2018

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ِThe spokesman of a barred candidate in Egypt's presidential election has accused President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of hypocrisy over measures taken against the presidential hopeful.

ِThe spokesman of a barred candidate in Egypt's presidential election has accused President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of hypocrisy over measures taken against the presidential hopeful.

Hazem Hosny, an official in the campaign of former armed forces chief-of-staff General Sami Anan, made the attack in an online statement on Sunday.

"Anan has not committed any violations that the current president has committed when he spoke - in the infamous dream leaks - about his political ambitions," Hosny said.

"The leaks revealed his desire to become President," he said, referring to a 2013 recording of Sisi while he was defence minister in which he recounts dreams that predicted that he would become president.

Hosny added that Anan's intention to run in the March polls "depended on gaining approval from the armed forces" and denounced a media smear campaign against the former general.

Sisi, a general-turned-politician, has successfully silenced all forms of political opposition during his first four-year term after he led the ousting the North African country's first freely elected leader, the Islamist Mohamed Morsi.

Anan was excluded from standing shortly after announcing his desire to run last month.

Anan was accused of illegally announcing his intention to contest the election before getting the military's approval and was then was arrested by the military.

The armed forces accused him on state television of "infractions and crimes" that require investigation.

Anan's lawyer has denied the claims that his client's announcement of his candidacy constituted "incitement against the armed forces" and confirmed that Anan has been held at a military prison in Cairo.

Military sources told The New Arab on Monday that Anan's arrest has angered many members of the military establishment.

"The anger is not over him being prevented from running but over the degrading treatment of such a distinguished army leader," the sources said.

Opposition parties and figures have called for a boycott of the election in which Sisi looks set to romp to victory.

Sisi is virtually certain of winning a second, four-year term, after a string of would-be challengers were arrested, forced out or quit the race.

Other top challengers to drop out include Ahmed Shafiq, a prime minister under former long-serving president Hosni Mubarak, and Mohamed Anwar Sadat, a dissident and nephew of the former president of the same name.

Shafiq reversed a pledge to run after he was returned to Egypt from exile in the United Arab Emirates, while Sadat said the climate was not right for free elections.

Last month a military court sentenced Colonel Ahmed Qonsowa to six years in jail after he announced his intention to stand.

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