After rival accused of crimes, Egypt’s Sissi registers candidacy for reelection
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After rival accused of crimes, Egypt’s Sissi registers candidacy for reelection

Several potential opponents in presidential race have either ruled themselves out or been targeted for prosecution

Egyptians drive past a billboard bearing the image of Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, as part of the campaign for his reelection in the upcoming polls scheduled for March 2018, on January 22, 2018, in Cairo. (AFP PHOTO / MOHAMED EL-SHAHED)
Egyptians drive past a billboard bearing the image of Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, as part of the campaign for his reelection in the upcoming polls scheduled for March 2018, on January 22, 2018, in Cairo. (AFP PHOTO / MOHAMED EL-SHAHED)

CAIRO, Egypt — Egyptian leader Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi on Wednesday formally submitted his candidacy for presidential elections in March that he looks certain to dominate as a string of potential challengers have dropped out.

Sissi, 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.

Sissi 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 January 29, but a number of possible Sissi 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.

This file photo taken on March 29, 2011 shows former Egyptian army chief of staff Sami Anan (R) shaking hands with then-US Commander of the Central Command James Mattis during a meeting in Cairo. (AFP PHOTO / AFP POOL / KHALED DESOUKI)

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.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi interviewed on CNBC, November 7, 2017. (Screen capture: CNBC)

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.

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