Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi officially launched his bid for a second term in office on Wednesday, submitting documents to register as a candidate, state news agency MENA said, a day after his main potential rival was arrested.
Sisi, who won an election in a landslide in 2014 after leading the army in ousting Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi a year earlier, becomes the first candidate to register officially for the election set for March 26-28.
Candidates must register from Jan. 20 to 29 before a final list of candidates is announced on Feb. 20, according to the election commission.
Sisi’s popularity has been damaged by austerity reforms, security problems and a crackdown on dissidents, his critics say, but he is widely expected to win the election comfortably.
Those who have considered challenging Sisi describe a sweeping effort to kill off their campaigns before they begin, with media attacks on candidates, intimidation of supporters, and a nomination process stacked in favor of the former general.
Former military chief of staff Lieutenant General Sami Anan, the last challenger seen as a potential threat to Sisi’s re-election, was detained on Tuesday and had his campaign stopped after the army accused him of breaking the law by running for office without permission.
Khaled Ali, a rights lawyer who may be disqualified over a pending court case centered on his alleged use of an obscene hand gesture, remains one of the only presidential hopefuls still actively pursuing a bid.
Ali’s campaign said it would hold a news conference on Wednesday to announce their “final position” on the presidential elections.
by Reuters and Algemeiner Staff