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Egypt's army can't interfere every time an elected president fails : Abul-Fotouh

Strong Egypt Party leader blames the army's involvement in politics for the ongoing unrest, including spike in terrorism in Sinai

Ahram Online, Sunday 23 Feb 2014
Abdel Moneim Abou El Fatouh
Strong Egypt Party leader Abdel Moneim Abou El Fatouh (Photo: Reuters)
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Moderate Islamist politician Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh, whose Strong Egypt Party has been critical of both the Muslim Brotherhood and the interim government, has condemned what he says is the army's continued interference in Egypt's political scene.

In an interview with Ahram's daily Arabic newspaper on Sunday, the former Muslim Brotherhood member said that although ousted president Mohamed Morsi's one-year term was a failure, his removal should have been done through "ballot boxes."

"That was our dispute with the National Salvation Front [a coalition of non-Islamists that supported the 30 June protests leading to Morsi's removal]," Abul-Fotouh said. "They preferred the ousting of Morsi through a coup d'état."

"We can't ask the army to interfere every time we elect a failing president," he said, adding that the only role of the armed forces is to defend the country's borders.

Abul-Fotouh pointed out that while the army turned against Morsi, it didn't turn against former president Hosni Mubarak during his corrupt 30-year rule.

"When the army went down to the streets on 25 January [2011], it didn't take the side of the people or Mubarak. It went down after the police collapsed and then took a neutral stance."

On 11 February 2011, 15 days after the army was deployed in major cities across the country to maintain order, then-Vice President Omar Suleiman announced that the Mubarak had decided to hand authority over to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF).

On Sinai

Abul-Fouth refuted claims that Morsi was responsible for the recent spike in militant attacks in the restive Sinai Peninsula, arguing that terrorism has existed in Sinai throughout the terms of Mubarak, SCAF, Morsi and the current interim government as well.

Instead, he blamed the army for the rise in attacks, which have killed scores of security personnel since Morsi's ouster.

"Terrorism entered Sinai because the army was busy playing politics," he said, adding that the majority of the country's alleged terrorists who were released following the 25 January uprising were later pardoned by former field marshal Hussein Tantawi and not by Morsi.

He further added that most of the released had been unjustly detained and had already finished their jail terms.

While he denounced the attacks targeting security forces, he also stressed that the police apparatus must be trained and ready to face such assaults

The only way to end the current onslaught of terrorism and violence, he offered, is to halt the "oppressive media and the hatred it promotes" as well as the ongoing crackdown by security forces on dissent.

Presidential polls

Abul-Fouth, who has announced a boycott of the upcoming presidential elections, said that the polls offer no guarantees for a democratic transition.

"Can anyone compete with General Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi after the advertising campaign made for him?" he asked.

On 9 February, Abul-Fotouh announced that he would not run as a presidential candidate, describing the polls as a "mockery" of elections.

Abul-Fouth's Strong Egypt Party also boycotted the constitutional referendum in mid-January that had been billed by interim authorities as a milestone in the post-Morsi transitional road map.

Although El-Sisi has yet to announce his official candidacy, speculation over his nomination has run wild in recent weeks following alleged leaks and statements from the army, top politicians and both Egyptian and foreign media sources.

Nasserist politician and 2012 presidential contender Hamdeen Sabbahi is the only candidate to have so far announced his intention to run.

Campaigns for ex-chief of staff Sami Anan and former presidential candidate Khaled Ali have reportedly said that they will soon reveal their plans regarding the polls.

 

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J.M.Jordan
24-02-2014 02:47pm
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Elections or resignations change things in a democracy: usually. But...
...for Morsi's presidency, no wonder things went differently and -as not only I see it- smartly. You cannot donate yourself "omnipotency" just in order to impose your Caliphate dream though 80% of your nationals are secular and in no way desire this. It's direct democracy if under such circumstances folks defend themselves and, after a signature collection shows 2 millions of people more wishing Morsi's removal thqn had elected him, beg the army to materialize majority will. And what then followed from MB only proves that it wasn't only Morsi who hadn't understood what you can and can't in a democracy. Sorry, MB itself has made itself impossible,
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6



Reslan
24-02-2014 07:48am
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yes absolutely correct
Yes what ever you said is absolutely correct...but i dont think existing media coverages will not allow people to think freely in Egypt..
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SAWSAN MOSTAFA ALI
23-02-2014 09:05pm
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THE EG. ARMY CAN DO WHATEVER IT WANTS WHENEVER NECESSARY
EGYPT IS THE GIFT OF ITS ARMY AND NOT THE GIFT OF THE NILE AS HERODOUT SAID. NILE HAS BEEN RUNNING IN MANY COUNTRIES, NEVERTHELESS , THERE WAS ALWAYS A CIVILIZATION IN EGYPT ONLY . THIS IS DUE TO THAT THE KINGS REALIZED VERY EARLY THAT THEY SHOULD HAVE A STRONG ARMY TO PROTECT THIS CIVILIZATION. MR. ABU EL FETOUH IS A VERY SINCERE EKHWANI AND THE INT. EKHWAN GAVE HIM THE RESPONSIBILITY TO MAINTAIN THE EKHWAN IN EGYPT AND TO HAVE MEMBERS AT THE COMING PEOPLE'S ASSEMBLY FROM THEIR ((SLEEPING CELLS)). WAKE UP EKHWANI, EGYPTIAN WILL NEVER ALLOW THE EKHWAN TO BE FOUND ON OUR LAND ANYMORE. YOU ARE INTELLIGENT ---SO ARE THE EG. PEOPLE. THE BEST THING FOR YOU IS TO DISAPPEAR AS NOBODY WANTS TO SEE YOU ANYMORE.
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Hazem L
23-02-2014 09:50pm
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Egypt's origins
Egypt is the gift of its people, not any political or military institution or even natural force.
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Allen
23-02-2014 07:46pm
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They sure can when the masses rise as they did at the Ukraine.
The deposed Muslim brotherhood puppet proved he really does not represent Egypt . His goal was nothing more then a single minded desire to convert Egypt to a Muslim brotherhood terrorists nest. Given the terror Egyptians have had to put up with I am amazed this terrorism supporter is not only not in jail but is getting air time to voice his pro terrorist opinions.
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Dostour
25-02-2014 01:06am
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Laws regulating protests are inappropriate for counterrorism
It has been abused badly like the one in Ukraine. Furthermore, it isn't working. Banning strikes and sit-ins isn't stopping bombings drive by shootings or other organized militant activities. It does not make sense to use an anti-protest law for counterterrorism purposes. Equating the two is either a mistake or indicates that those who passed the law have an agenda other than counterrrorism. The media elements who equate all protests with terrorism sound disturbingly similar to Yanukovych.
Allen
23-02-2014 09:55pm
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Protest law is there for a very good reason
The Muslim brotherhood terrorists exploited Egypt and it's people under the false guise they are protesting. In reality they were vandalizing and terrorizing Egyptians. The protest law is there to give Egypt the upper hand and advance notice to protect Egyptians simple as that.
Dostour
23-02-2014 09:19pm
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Protest Law
This is one reason why the Egyptian protest law is irrational. You can't approve of what happened in Ukraine and at the same time support the Egyptian protest law. Yanukovych had an anti-protest law too to defend his anti-democratic administration but it failed to save him. Those who currently argue that Egyptians no longer have the right to remove their leaders through protest are ignoring the precedents set in recent years, as when the Mubarak dictator fell. Egyptians need to cherish and retain this rights, as it may very well be necessary to employ it again in the future. Fortunately in Ukraine, the military did not get involved and the protesters succeeded through mostly nonviolent means. Getting the military involved is a risky gamble, as usually mils are power hungry institutions. Yanukovych was done ever he tried to start his own brutal version of the Battle of the Camel.
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Hamad
23-02-2014 07:13pm
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Ikhwan innocent of all twerror charges
"Terror has existed in Sinai throughout the terms of Mubarak, SCAF, Morsi and the current interim government as well" He is correct.
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2



Egyptian
23-02-2014 06:57pm
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how can you be pro democracy but anti elections?
Who respects what this person has to say? If the majority want something done and the president ignores them then it is the right of every Egyptian to remove him. It wasnt only the army which removed Morsi, it was the Egyptian people who conducted the largest protest in recorded history. 30 million plus. A protest is not a coup, an ultimatum is not a coup. If you dont have comments that are helpful to advancing Egypt, then what good are your comments? Your should be promoting unity not division. The army and the people are one hand.
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Albert
23-02-2014 04:36pm
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Blame the victim
The only reason, according to AF , that terrorism exists is that the Egyptian people, it's armed and security forces do not surrender unconditionnally to the kind and patriotic terrorists. If they only conceded this point and kindly surrendered everything would become a paradise on earth.
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