Egypt leader Sisi registers candidacy for presidential poll that he looks set to dominate

Members of Sisi's presidential campaign count boxes containing his candidacy papers.
Members of Sisi's presidential campaign count boxes containing his candidacy papers.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

CAIRO (AFP) - Egyptian leader Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Wednesday (Jan 24) formally submitted his candidacy for presidential elections in March that he looks certain to dominate as a string of potential challengers have dropped out.

Sisi, who was elected president in 2014 a year after heading the military ouster of Islamist leader Mohamed Morsi, on Friday confirmed he would be seeking a second four-year term.

Sisi is the only candidate so far to officially submit an application to the National Election Authority for the March 26-28 election, the third since strongman Hosni Mubarak was toppled by a 2011 uprising.

Hopefuls must register by Jan 29, but a number of possible Sisi opponents have already either ruled themselves out or been targeted for prosecution.

On Tuesday, a bid by General Sami Anan was plunged into doubt after the armed forces accused him on state television of "infractions and crimes" that require investigation.

The authorities issued a gag order on the details of his case which is being handled by military judiciary.

High-profile names to drop out include former Mubarak-era prime minister Ahmed Shafiq and Mohamed Anwar Sadat, a dissident and nephew of the former president of the same name.

 
 

Shafiq reversed a pledge to run after he was returned to Egypt from exile in the United Arab Emirates, while Sadat said the climate was not right for free elections.

Last month, a military court sentenced Colonel Ahmed Konsowa to six years in jail after he announced his intention to stand.

There still remain two well-known people still potentially in the running: rights lawyer and 2012 presidential candidate Khaled Ali and Mortada Mansour, the head of Egypt's legendary Zamalek football club.

Ali's campaign is scheduled to announce at a press conference later on Wednesday whether he will withdraw or continue with his bid.