Egypt’s National Election Authority (NEA) has stated the legal grounds, upon which it removed former Military Chief of Staff Sami Anan from the voters’ database over charges of “forgery” to run for the 2018 presidential election.
Removing Anan, who is still under the military call-up service, came in accordance with the principles of the Constitution, the NEA said in a statement on Thursday. “Deleting his name from the voters’ database is a rectification of a mistake made by the administrative body to register his name in the voters’ database.”
The exclusion also was based on official documents received from the Armed Forces, per a judicial ruling from the Cairo Court for the Urgent Matters to oblige the minister of defense to submit a certificate on Anan’s military status to the NEA. On January 23, Egyptian authorities have arrested the former army chief of staff over charges of “forgery” as he “illegally” announced his intention to run for the 2018 presidential election. Anan does not have a military permission terminating his service at the Armed Forces, according to a statement from the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF).
“Excluding lieutenant general on call Sami Hafez Ahmed Anan was based on the official documents that the NEA received confirming that he is still an officer in the Armed Forces, has the military status and is subject to all relevant laws,” the NEA statement read.
As per an investigation conducted by the NEA committee, the authority sees that Anan is not allowed to practice his political rights as he is still in the military service, according to the Law of the Political Rights, saying that he (Anan) was unrightfully registered in the voters’ database in grave violation of the law. It was incumbent to exclude his name from the voters’ database.”
Anan served as Egypt’s army chief of staff and the second man in the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces from 2005 until 2012, when he was forced to retire from his post by former President Mohamed Morsi.
The statement of the National Elections Authority regarding the legal status of lieutenant-general Sami Hafez Anan came as follows:
Out of the National Election Authority’s keenness to inform the public opinion inside and outside Egypt of the latest developments regarding the upcoming presidential elections, and in light of the issues raised in the local and international media outlets concerning the decision made by the NEA in its meeting on Tuesday, January 23, 2018, to exclude the name of lieutenant general on call Sami Hafez Anan from the voters’ database in the upcoming presidential election, the NEA would like to announce the following:
First: in light of the judicial composition of its board and in application of the provisions of the constitution and Law, the NEA deals with all parties on the basis of equality and neutrality, raising high the principles of the constitution and law in all the measures and decisions it takes in full independence.
Second: Excluding lieutenant general on call Sami Hafez Anan was based on official documents received by the NEA confirming that he is still an officer in the Armed Forces, has the military status and is subject to all relevant laws.
Third: A committee from the NEA executive body was formed to check the documents referred to the NEA by Amr Ahmed Abdel Razek, a lawyer who submitted a request to delete the name of lieutenant general on call Sami Anani from the voters’ database. It has been proven to the committee that the certificate dated 23/1/2018 was issued by the department of Armed Forces Officers ‘ Affairs stating that lieutenant general on call Sami Hafez Anan is still in the military service, among the Armed forces officers and maintains the military status up till the date of issuing such certificate.
Fourth: It has been proven to the committee that the aforementioned certificate that the NEA received was issued by the department of the Armed Forces Officers’ lawsuit No. 160/2018 stating in its wording that the minister of defense shall present this certificate.
Fifth: The committee concluded the investigations and submitted a memorandum of opinion based on the following:
A paragraph 2 of the first article of decree law No. 45/ 2014 on regulating the exercise of the political rights states that officers and personnel of the Armed forces whether main auxiliary, and/or supplementary and officers and personnel of the police, for as long as such are in active service in the armed and police forces, shall be exempted from exercising their political rights.
Article 103 of law No. 232/1959 on officer’s service states that the officers shall be prohibited from expressing political or partisan opinions, working in the political field, belonging to politically oriented parties, authorities or associations. Officers shall be prohibited from taking part in organizing partisan meetings and/or electoral campaigning.
Article 147 of the aforementioned law stipulates that the Armed Forces officers shall serve in the Armed Forces until retirement according to the age bracket stated for each rank.
The Armed Forces is entitled to call some retired officers who acquired special expertise to work for it.
Article 6 of the same law states that consequent to calling a retired officer, he shall be back to active service and subject to all its law.
Decree law No.133/2011 issued on November 23, 2011, stipulates that members of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces already in service at the period shall be called upon retirement according to the legal age bracket of retirement to benefit from their expertise and in observance of the security and safety of the Armed Forces and national security.
Given the aforementioned, the Armed Forces officers and personnel including those who are subject to call shall not exercise political rights as long as they are in service; as they are among the persons that are exempted, by virtue of law No. 45/2014, from exercising political rights unless their service was terminated or according to a request to terminate being on call that shall be referred to the corps of the concerned officer to be presented to the specialized officers committee. Such committee is entitled to decide on accepting the termination request or rejecting it. The committee’s decision shall be ratified by the General Commander of the Armed Forces and the Defense and Military Production minister.
In view of the above-mentioned and taking into consideration that lieutenant general Hafez Anan is still in military service and is banned from exercising his political rights and that he was unrightfully registered in the voters’ database in grave violation of the law and that this decision is not immune and can be withdrawn at any time without abiding by the fixed dates of withdrawing such illegitimate administrative decisions, it was incumbent to exclude his name from the voters’ database.
The NEA stresses that Article 16 of the law regulating the exercise of political rights stated that it is impermissible to make any modification to the voters’ database after inviting the voters to election. It has become crystal clear that Anan was not entitled to be registered in the voters’ database. Consequently, deleting his name from the voters’ database is a rectification of a mistake made by the administrative body to register his name in the voters’ database. This is not considered a prohibited modification according to the aforementioned article.
The NEA urges all local and international press media outlets to be precise regarding the data, information and the news they release related to authority’s work, shoulder responsibility and resort to the official sources in the NEA in terms of managing news about the electoral process. The NEA appreciates the role of media outlets and is keen on communicating with them and providing them with the correct information and statements.