Sisi to contest Egypt presidential poll virtually unopposed

Sisi to contest Egypt presidential poll virtually unopposed

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi conferred late Sunday with his Angolan counterpart Joao Lourenco at his residence, Presidential Spokesman Ambassador Bassam Radi said in a Monday statement.

Mousa, who leads the Ghad party, told Reuters he was at the electoral commission registering his candidacy after having collected the required number of nomination pledges. Several would-be opposition candidates have been arrested or frightened from the race in the last few weeks.

The National Election Authority announced on January 8 that the deadline for applications would be January 29.

Abdel Fatah al-Sisi is to contest next month's presidential election virtually unopposed and facing only one other candidiate - the leader of a pro-Sisi party and has already expressed support for the incumbent to continue in his job. He argued that his party, which supports el-Sissi, had long prepared to field a challenger, but changed its mind when former prime minister and air force general Ahmed Shafiq said he would run. They were unlikely to win the race, but their participation would have attracted protest votes against el-Sissi, including from Egyptians hit hard by the president's austerity measures and other economic reforms.

In a press conference held at the campaign's headquarters in New Cairo on Monday evening, campaign spokesperson and legal advisor Mohamed Bahaa El-Din Abu Shoka stated that the Sisi campaign had originally received 915,000 legally valid endorsements but it had chose to submit only 173,000, to allow them to be processed more speedily.

Under Egyptian law, presidential hopefuls must collect endorsements from at least 20 lawmakers, or at least 25 000 registered voters, with a minimum of 1 000 signatures from each of at least 15 provinces.

Former military commander Sisi was elected in 2014, a year after leading the army to oust Islamist President Mohamed Mursi. Thousands of Morsi supporters have been jailed, along with secular activists.

Hamza Hendawi is an Associated Press writer.

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