Military source: Next president cannot interfere in military nominations

Egypt’s ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) will not allow the country’s next president the constitutional authority to appoint the armed forces’ chief, an informed source told Al-Masry Al-Youm.

The issue will be the primary subject of the military's battle with political players when the country starts to draft its new constitution, the source said following protests against military rule on Friday, adding that the armed forces will be anxious to preserve its independence from civilian governments.

The configuration of the military's position in the country's political future has been subject to intense debate, with some advocating that the military's independence is crucial, while more radical politicians and activists have called for subjecting military spending to checks and balances.

In recent decades, presidents – who have been responsible for appointing military leaders – have all come from the military themselves, an arrangement that the 25 January revolution is attempting to reverse by refusing the renewal of military rule.

The military source said the independence of the armed forces has been the rule since the 1952 revolution, and was bolstered by former presidents' military backgrounds. He argued that the military should be protected from politicians should a civilian president be elected.

The constitution’s stance on the army has been a controversial issue over the past few months. The debates started when presidential hopeful Hesham el-Bastawisi, vice president of the Court of Cassation, submitted a memo to the SCAF presenting his judicial vision of the armed forces’ position in the new constitution.

Bastawisi suggested the establishment of a national defense council chaired by Egypt’s president, which should have the exclusive authority over discussing the military’s budget.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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