Sami Anan Officially Banned from Running in Presidential Elections

Egypt's former army chief of staff Sami Anan speaks during news conference at his office in Cairo   Thomson Reuters

A retired Egyptian general has been arrested by the military in Cairo after he announced his intention to run against the president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, in March's election, his campaign staff have said.

In a statement released earlier in the day, SCAF said that the 69-year-old, who announced his candidacy on Sunday, had forged official documents to end his military service and had not obtained the army's approval to run.

On Tuesday, top army officials said Annan had failed to follow regulations before announcing his candidacy, which require officers to formally end their service and ask for permission from the central command.

The military also accused Anan of forging documents to falsely indicate his military service was terminated. The charges "come from an inaccurate reading of Anan's announcement", Hazem Hosni told Reuters, without elaborating.

Anan's son Samir Anan said late on Tuesday they had not heard from his father since his detention and did not know whether he was still at the Military Prosecutor's office or had been moved elsewhere.

"The campaign of candidacy #Sami_Annan announces with great sorrow the suspension of the campaign until further notice, for the sake of keeping the security and safety of all citizens who are in need of change", the campaign's statement read.

Sisi was elected president in 2014, a year after leading the military ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi when he was himself commander in chief.

Egypt's former chief of staff Sami Anan pictured in March 2011.

Two other presidential hopefuls besides Annan have been forced to quit the race.

In a speech posted on his Facebook page, Anan called on the country's civil and military institutions to be neutral in the presidential race.

"In upholding the principle of the law's sovereignty as the basic rule of the state, it is imperative that legal measures pertaining to these violations and crimes be taken and he (Anan) is summoned for questioning by the relevant authorities".

In his declaration of his intention to run in the upcoming elections, Anan said he wished to steer Egypt away from "wrong policies" that the current regime has adopted.

However, after he announced his presidential run, he claimed that the UAE, a major Sisi ally and funder, was preventing him from traveling to Egypt.

Former prime minister and air force Gen. Ahmed Shafiq said he did not think he was the "ideal" man to lead the nation after days of harsh criticism by pro-el-Sissi media.

Mohamed Anwar al-Sadat, the nephew of assassinated President Anwar al-Sadat, said last week he would not run, citing an environment of fear surrounding the vote.

"We're waiting to see what will happen with Anan".

With Annan out of the race and possibly facing a court martial, only one serious presidential hopeful is left in the field: prominent rights lawyer Khaled Ali.

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