Share This Page

Ex-army chief, leftist to seek Egyptian presidency

| Sunday, April 20, 2014, 7:15 p.m.
Presidential hopeful leftist politician Hamdeen Sabahi, who finished a strong third in the first round of the last presidential election, in June 2012, smiles as he greets his supporters outside the election commission office in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, April 19, 2014. Sabahi submitted required signatures to the election commission as the final formal step to run in next month’s presidential election. The presidential ballot will be followed by a parliamentary election later this year. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
In this Wednesday, April 24, 2013, file photo, Egyptian Defense Minister Gen. Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi reviews honor guards during an arrival ceremony for his U.S. counterpart at the Ministry of Defense in Cairo. Hopes for stability after years of tumult aided Sisi’s presidential bid.

CAIRO — The former army general who toppled Egypt's first freely elected president will face a leftist politician in the presidential election next month, because they were the only candidates to enter, the committee organizing the vote said on Sunday.

The committee had received paperwork from former army chief Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and former parliamentarian and presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi, its head said during a news conference hours after the deadline for nominations had passed.

The elections will be held in a barren political climate, three years after the uprising that overthrew autocrat Hosni Mubarak raised hopes of a robust democracy in the biggest Arab nation.

There will be no Islamist candidate, in contrast to the hotly contested 2012 presidential race that featured more than a dozen rivals from across the political spectrum and was won by Mohamed Morsy of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Al-Sisi, who deposed Morsy last year, is expected to win the vote easily. He has gained cultlike adulation from supporters who view him as a savior who can end the political turmoil that has dogged the country since the army-backed popular uprising that ended Mubarak's three-decade rule.

Islamists, many of whom have been driven underground, view al-Sisi as the mastermind of a coup.

Thousands of them have been jailed, and the Brotherhood has been banned and declared a terrorist organization, with its top leaders headed to trial. Secular activists, including ones who played a key role in the revolt that toppled Mubarak, have been rounded up. There are no signs political tensions will ease anytime soon.

Al-Sisi would be the latest in a line of Egyptian rulers drawn from the military that was only briefly broken during Morsy's year in office.

The other contender, Sabahi, heads a political alliance called the Popular Current and was a member of parliament under Mubarak. He was third in the 2012 presidential vote after Morsy and ex-air force chief Ahmed Shafik.

Sabahi said last month that he doubted al-Sisi would bring democracy if elected, alleging that as Mubarak's former chief of military intelligence, he was responsible for human rights abuses.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.