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Egypt announces date for presidential elections

The then President elect Abdel Fattah al-Sisi delivers a speech after signing the handing over of power document in Cairo, on June 8, 2014 [Egyptian Presidency / ApaImages]
Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi delivers a speech in Cairo, on 8 June, 2014 [Egyptian Presidency/ApaImages]

The Egyptian National Election Authority (NEA) yesterday announced that the next presidential election will be held from 26-28 March.

Speaking at a press conference, NEA chief, Lashin Ibrahim, said Egyptian expatriates will be able to vote from 16-18 March.

He explained that if a runoff is to take place, it will be held at home from 24-26 April and for expats from 19-21 April.

It is believed that Al-Sisi, who was a military general himself before ousting democratically elected President Mohammed Morsi in 2013, will run in the upcoming election and win a second four-year term.

Sisi Era - Cartoon [Latuff/MiddleEastMonitor]

Sisi Era – Cartoon [Latuff/MiddleEastMonitor]

To date, he has yet to formally announce his candidacy; according to the Egyptian constitution, he is entitled to run for a second term. Whilst other candidates have stepped forward, with Al-Sisi’s history of quashing opposition and jailing rival political figures, it remains to be seen if they will follow through with their pledges.

Former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq who served under deposed President Hosni Mubarak was expected to run for election. Shafiq lost the election after Mubarak’s ousting in 2012, and lived in self-imposed exile in the UAE until last year.

Read: Egypt to prepare for presidential elections from February

After announcing his plan to run in the UAE, he was subsequently deported from the Emirates. The UAE has backed Al-Sisi’s brutal authority with billions of dollars. He has since announced he will not be running.

Human rights lawyer Khaled Ali has also announced that he will take part in the presidential race next year. However, he was subsequently convicted of “violating public decency” for allegedly making an obscene gesture in court, he is appealing the decision. If the verdict is upheld, he could be disqualified from the process.

Another potential candidate is former MP Mohamed Anwar Esmat El-Sadat, the nephew of former president Anwar Sadat. However, he has complained of being unable to run publicity campaigns equal to that of Al-Sisi after “government and security restrictions faced by members of his campaign”.

Campaigns in support of Al-Sisi’s expected bid have already been launched in the country, with Egypt’s so-called “Alashan Tbneeha” (To Build It) movement announcing in October that it had collected over three million signatures from citizens.

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