Ahmed Tantawi, who intended to run in the upcoming presidential elections in Egypt before announcing his failure to meet the nomination requirements, was referred to the Criminal Court yesterday on charges of “trading election documents without the authorities’ permission.”
One of Tantawi‘s campaign members told the (AFP) agency, “Lawyers were surprised to find the names of Tantawi and Mohammed Abu Diyar (his campaign director) among the accused in the power of attorney case,” as reported by the (Al-Masri al-youm) newspaper.
Human rights activist and director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, Hossam Bahgat, wrote on his (X) platform account, “The presidential candidate Ahmed Tantawi and his campaign director and 21 of its members have been referred to criminal trial.”
Bahgat explained that the charge is “trading election documents without the authorities’ permission,” adding that the court has decided to hear the case on the 28th of this month.
The Egyptian Ministry of Interior announced on the 9th of October last year the arrest of a number of individuals in the governorates of Alexandria, Giza, Fayoum, and Suez while they were preparing forged powers of attorney for one of the potential presidential candidates. It clarified that the detainees had put signatures on the forged powers of attorney, claiming that they were issued by real estate offices, according to the official news agency.
It mentioned that “596 copies of blank forged powers of attorney” were found in the possession of the accused and that “legal procedures have been taken against the owner of the printing press.”
In an interview with (AFP) last month, Tantawi blamed the authorities for preventing him from collecting the required powers of attorney, deliberately preventing his supporters from preparing powers of attorney at the real estate offices tasked with this mission across the country. To address this, Tantawi called on those willing to prepare powers of attorney for him to fill out manual forms he called “Popular Powers of Attorney,” which resemble the powers of attorney prepared by Egyptians abroad. Since the National Electoral Commission announced the opening of the candidacy on the 4th of the last month, the 44-year-old Tantawi has collected more than 14,000 powers of attorney, as announced in a press conference on the 13th of October, which did not qualify him to run in the presidential elections. To complete his nomination file, he had to collect 25,000 powers of attorney from citizens in 15 governorates out of the country’s 27, or obtain at least 20 “endorsements” from members of parliament before the close of the candidacy period.
Tantawi’s campaign has repeatedly stated that his supporters are deliberately prevented from obtaining powers of attorney for various reasons: computer malfunctions at times, and employees not having the necessary time on other occasions.
Last month, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi formally submitted his nomination papers for a third presidential term in the presidential elections in which he is likely to win. El-Sisi obtained 424 endorsements from members of parliament, totaling 596 members, and more than 1.1 million powers of attorney. Similarly, the President of the Egyptian Democratic Social Party, Fareed Zahran, the President of the Wafd Party, Abdel Sattar Yemama, and the President of the Republican People’s Party, Hazem Omar, all submitted their nomination papers for the presidential elections, supported by the required parliamentary endorsements. The latter gathered more than 60,000 powers of attorney. The presidential elections in Egypt are scheduled to be held from the 10th to the 12th of December, with the results announced on the 18th of the same month.