Egypt: Head of centrist party to challenge Sisi

Head of Egypt's El-Ghad party, Mousa Mostafa Mousa, to run for presidency in March election.

Elad Benari,

Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi
Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi
Reuters

The head of Egypt's El-Ghad party, Mousa Mostafa Mousa, will challenge President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in the upcoming presidential elections, sources from the party told the Egypt Today website on Sunday.

The sources added that Mousa received endorsements from 20 parliamentarians, the majority of them representing the Monufia Governorate, in order to announce his presidential bid.

Mousa is scheduled to submit his documents to Egypt’s National Elections Authority (NEA) on Monday, which marks the last day for candidates to submit their documents, reported Egypt Today.

Egyptians will head to the polls on March 26-28 in the first round of the presidential election, and a second round will be held on April 24-26 if necessary.

Sisi, the incumbent president, publicly confirmed last Friday he would seek a second term in office.

While there were several challengers to the former army chief, as of last Wednesday almost all of them had dropped out of the race.

The last candidate to quit the race was Khaled Ali, a rights lawyer seen as the last real challenger to Sisi, who said there were "signs that pointed to a will to poison the whole operation and to corrupt and empty it of its supposedly democratic content."

Last Tuesday, Egypt’s former military chief of staff, Lieutenant General Sami Anan, halted his presidential campaign after he was detained and accused by the army of breaking the law by running for office without permission.

Another candidate who withdrew is former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq, who had announced he would run in the election, but later backtracked and announced he would not be a candidate, explaining he came to realize he was not the right person for the job.

Mohamed Anwar Sadat, a nephew of the former Egyptian president of the same name, also said he would not stand because the climate was not right for free elections.

Meanwhile on Sunday, five Egyptian public figures, including two former presidential hopefuls, called for voters to boycott the March presidential election.

The five “condemn all security and administrative practices that the current regime took to prevent any fair competition against it in the upcoming elections,” they said in a statement quoted by AFP.

They added “obstacles to the elections had started early with the spreading of a climate of fear over security and media and government bias.”

The five also complained of a “tight timetable which did not give competitors a real chance to present themselves.”

The document, according to AFP, was signed by two of Anan's top aides — Hisham Geneina, a former anti-corruption chief, and Hazem Hosni, a political science professor at Cairo University.

It was also signed by Sadat, moderate Islamist and 2012 presidential candidate Abdel Moneim Abol Fotouh, a former senior leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and Essam Heggy, a NASA space scientist who worked as an adviser to former interim president Adly Mansour.


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