Former top official calls Egypt pres. poll 'a farce'

Former top official calls Egypt pres. poll 'a farce'
Sun Mar 16, 2014 23:45:12

A former Egyptian army general and presidential candidate has described the upcoming presidential election in his country as a “farce,” saying the April vote favors only one candidate.

Khaled Ali, in an apparent reference to army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, said on Sunday that the upcoming vote favors only one candidate.

Khaled, who is close to the youth movements, also said state institutions and media are all geared toward Sisi's candidacy and undermine the chances of a fair competition with any other candidate.

The former presidential candidate then called on the country’s powerful army to stay out of politics.

“Stop the puppet theatre that you have opened,” Ali told reporters in Cairo, adding, “We are not against the candidacy of any former military leader, the military which we respect. ... But stay away from the army for a year, and let the media and the people treat you as a human, one that acts like humans who can make mistakes and can do right and be criticized.”

The council of military leaders have recently released a statement giving its blessing to Sisi's presidential bid, calling it an "obligation" based on popular demand.

Sisi's victory would put Egypt's presidency back in the hands of a top military official just three years after Egyptians rose up against former dictator Hosni Mubarak, an air force officer who ruled Egypt for nearly three decades.

The developments come as anti-government demonstrators have been holding rallies almost on a daily basis since the army toppled Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically-elected president. The demonstrators demand that Morsi be reinstated.

According to a UK-based rights group, Amnesty International, 1,400 people have been killed in the political violence since Morsi’s ouster in July last year, "most of them due to excessive force used by security forces."

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