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Retired military personnel shall require SCAF approval to practice politics

No former or currently-serving military personnel will be allowed to participate in electoral politics without the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) permission, the Egyptian Parliament has said.

The parliamentary announcement came following agreements on amendments suggested by the government.

The Parliament’s defence and national security committee approved, on Sunday, a draft law submitted by the government to amend some provisions of laws regarding the participation of military personnel in political life.

The laws are No 232 of 1959, which regulate the service and promotion of military officers, and law No 1968, which regulates affairs related to the state and the military forces. The latter also regulates SCAF establishment and management.

The amendments include the addition of two new paragraphs to Article 103 of Law 232, stipulating that officers, whether on duty or retired, cannot run in presidential, parliamentary, or local council elections.

They can only run for positions in these elections after receiving SCAF approval, which is a combination of military leaders from different divisions and apparatuses. If the officer’s request is rejected, they can appeal in front of the SCAF.

The amendments, which have been approved by parliament, also stipulates that officers are

prohibited from expressing political or partisan opinions or engaging in politics. They are also barred from joining parties or any associations and organisations that have political principles or inclinations. This is in addition to a prohibition from participating in organising party meetings or electoral campaigns.

The government cited the “the nature of the modern war” as reason for the amendments, hence putting the restrictions.

The amendment comes two years after ex-Chief-of-Staff Sami Anan was arrested in January 2018 after he was accused by the army of running for the presidency without permission. 

In the same month, the army said that it had decided to summon Anan to investigate legal violations regarding his bid to run for office. It accused him of “inciting against the armed forces,” and “the forgery of official documents.” he was released in December 2019.

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