Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Road to Egyptian elections 2024: Sadat’s Presidential Candidate

The first person to bring up the issue of the upcoming presidential elections in the mainstream media was not former MP Ahmed Tantawy.

It was former MP and leader of the Reform and Development Party Mohamed Anwar Sadat Jr., also known as Mohamed Sadat.

In February, Sadat Jr. issued a statement wondering if the Egyptian political and popular powers, including the intelligentsia, could agree on one or two presidential candidates and put together a plan and platform for them in order to see fair and democratic presidential elections in 2024, like the ones we had in 2012.

Mohamed El-Sadat
Former MP Mohamed El-Sadat 

It is interesting to note that he mentioned the 2012 presidential elections. His call was not taken seriously and was ignored.

A month later, he released another statement saying that President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi had unofficially started his presidential campaign earlier with his tours of the governorates.

The former MP then asked questions about whether the political parties and powers, as well as the intelligentsia, were ready for the 2024 presidential elections with capable candidates. He also wondered if the United Nations and other international organizations would be invited to observe and follow up on the elections.

He also asked in the statement if the National Elections Authority (NEA) with its current law and powers is able to manage and monitor the elections with transparency and integrity, as well as standards that are applied to all candidates fairly.

“Egypt needs a president that believes in the people’s representation through their elected legislative and local councils and independent institutions so they can live their hopes, priorities and aspirations through the separation of powers” he said in his March statement wondering if it were the time to have a president who could be held responsible for their actions.

A couple of weeks later, Mohamed El-Sadat appeared in an interview on BBC Arabic. He revealed that there had been talks among civilian political powers and the Civil Democratic Movement about a potential presidential candidate.


The nephew of late President Anwar Sadat said that he would not reveal the name of the potential candidate until they had given their approval. He said that it did not matter if the candidate was from a civilian or military background, as long as they were competent.

For some, El-Sadat Jr.'s interview was a bombshell. Mainstream media ignored it, but social media was abuzz with speculation about Mr X.

Some thought that El-Sadat Jr. was referring to familiar figures like former Lieutenant General Sami Anan or Lieutenant General Magdy Hatata.

However, given Anan's age and what happened to him when he expressed his intention to run for president last time, it seems unlikely that he would run again. Hatata is also old.

Others speculated that the former MP was talking about Ahmed Shafik, the former presidential candidate in the 2012 elections.

Shafik is a former Air Chief Marshal, but he also withdrew from the 2018 Presidential race shortly too after expressing his initial intention to run. Shafik may have fans, but he is also 82 years old.

It is difficult to think of any other ex-military figures who are prominent or popular enough to run in the upcoming presidential elections.

Some suggested another name: former ambassador Masom Marzouk, who is both a retired military officer and a diplomat.

A decorated veteran of the 1973 war, Marzouk served in the special forces unit Thunderbolt. He later continued his education, graduating from the Faculty of Law and joining Egypt's diplomatic service.

He served as a diplomat in Ecuador, the United States, and Jordan. He was Egypt's consul in Amman and later served as ambassador to Uganda, Finland, and Estonia. Before leaving the diplomatic service, Marzouk was an assistant to the Foreign Minister, Ahmed Abu El-Ghait.

Marzouk earned popularity during the Tiran and Sanafir Islands dispute when he stated that they were Egyptian territories, as he had been taught in the army.

Marzouk is a Nasserite and was a leading member of the Nasserite Popular Current Party. He was also the spokesperson for Hamdeen Sabahy's 2014 presidential campaign.

In August 2018, the former ambassador was arrested after calling for a public poll on his Facebook account, asking whether the regime should continue.

He was accused of aiding a terrorist organization, receiving funds for terrorist goals, and plotting to commit a terrorist act.

He was released in May 2019 pending investigation. It is unclear if this will prevent him from fully participating in political activities. In addition to his legal situation, it is important to note that he is 77 years old.

Marzouk tweets frequently, but there has been complete silence from him on the topic of the upcoming presidential elections.

Back to Sadat and his statements.

After the BBC interview, he released another statement but at that time it was mostly about the National Dialogue but in the last of the statement he continued to inquire about the Presidential elections.

Three days earlier, the National Dialogue’s board of trustees called for amending the law governing the National Elections Authority (NEA) to renew judicial supervision over all elections and referendums.

The NEA's law stipulates that judicial supervision of elections is only for ten years following the adoption of the 2014 constitution, which means that the current ten-year term will conclude in January 2024.

On the same day, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi directed the government to study the proposal made by the Board of Trustees of the National Dialogue to renew legislation that stipulates full judicial supervision over elections and referendums.

El-Sadat asked the "what-if" questions in his statement: what will happen if the NEA is not renewed? What if the independent committee that is supposed to replace the NEA is not established? He also wondered why the government is considering renewing the NEA when the 2014 constitution (articles 208, 209, and 210) stipulates that the NEA and judicial supervision will be replaced by an independent committee after the end of the NEA's term.

No one has answered these questions yet.

The National Dialogue started, and it quickly became a talkathon. 

Yet people continued to ask about his Presidential candidate. 

Thus in April El-Sadat issued a statement. The member of Egypt’s National Council of Human Rights urged the people to wait a little until that candidate announces himself immediately upon reaching a final decision despite the ongoing consultations with him on that matter.

El-Sadat stated that the candidate stated if he decides to run, he plans to select and appoint two vice presidents, one of them is a woman and the other a Christian. Their identity will be revealed with his submission of his candidacy papers.

Candidate X promised to clarify his position based on the state’s commitment and responses to the recommendations presented as well as the guarantees requested by “the political powers” to ensure the fairness of the electoral process.

The Civil Democratic Movement denied its involvement with El-Sadat and his quest to find a suitable candidate. 

People soon forgot about Mohamed El-Sadat's presidential candidate, especially with the return of Ahmed Tantawy and the events that followed.

El-Sadat has not yet revealed his presidential hopeful, who comes from a military background. Mr X is still considering the matter.

Some have even speculated that El-Sadat was bluffing.

However, El-Sadat cannot be bluffing on the BBC, unless he is playing some kind of game.

Now I wonder if this "presidential hopeful" has refused to run in the first place.

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