General Sami Anan, a former Egyptian armed forces chief of staff, said on Saturday that he will challenge Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi for the presidency in March, reports AFP.
In a video posted on Facebook, Anan said he would seek to correct the "wrong policies" that had been adopted since Sisi and the Egyptian army ousted Islamist president Mohammed Morsi in 2013.
He said Egypt faced multiple challenges after the long years of turmoil, including deteriorating living conditions and a jihadist insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula.
"This is all the result of wrong policies which have put all the responsibilities on the armed forces without rational policies that would enable the civilian sector of the state to carry out its role in full, alongside the role of the armed forces," he said, according to AFP.
Anan said he had already put in place a team of civilians to support his bid, including Hisham Geneina, a former head of Egypt's anti-corruption watchdog who was sacked by Sisi in 2016 after publishing a damning report that put the losses from graft at more than $100 billion.
Anan's announcement came just hours after Sisi publicly confirmed he would seek a second term in the election.
Egypt will hold the first round of the elections between March 26 and 28, with a second round being held on April 24-26 if necessary. Candidates must register between January 20 and 29.
Anan served as armed forces chief of staff from 2005 until August of 2012, when he was dismissed by Morsi. Some had speculated that Morsi’s decision at the time was due to the fact that Anan and another top general, Defense Minister Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, had plotted a coup against him.
Would-be candidates for the presidency must register with the National Elections Authority by January 29.
Several prominent figures who had been seen as potential challengers to Sisi had already ruled themselves out even before registrations opened on Saturday.
One of those is former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq, who had announced he would run in 2018, 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.
On Monday, Mohamed Anwar Sadat, a nephew of the former Egyptian president of the same name, said he would not stand because the climate was not right for free elections.