The Egyptian Popular Current, founded by former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi, announced that: “The statement issued by the Egyptian army on Monday, regarding the approval of Defence Minister Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s bid for the presidency, indicates a clear interference in the upcoming presidential election and power arrangements in Egypt, which is incompatible with the constitution and democratic values as well political traditions.”
The statement, issued on Wednesday, added that: “The use of the term ‘mandate’ in a semi-official release to describe the decision of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) regarding Al-Sisi’s bid for presidency has not been corrected by the official statement of the SCAF, which touched on what it sees as the desire of the broad masses of Egypt’s great people who are willing to have the defence minister running for president. This will entrench the impression that Al-Sisi is fighting these elections with the armed forces’ support, as if he is the army’s candidate.”
The Popular Current expressed its concern that by endorsing a candidate, the army’s position would be too involved in the political process, warning against “the national army’s involvement in political matters or in supporting a specific candidate for the presidency at the expense of others.”
The movement added that: “We consider that this action will shift the national army away from upholding the agreement on the national consensus and undermine its high position among the people, becoming a subject of disagreement and a party in the political process, which would lead to it having an inappropriate position, something that we do not want for our army.”
The Popular Current, under the leadership of Sabahi, was deeply involved in the National Salvation Front (NSF) coalition that supported the army throughout the last year and provided political cover for the July 2013 military coup against Egypt’s first democratically-elected civilian president. Sabahi had been looking forward to the NSF’s nominating him as a presidential candidate.