Egypt president’s opponent organizes rally, no one shows up
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Egypt president’s opponent organizes rally, no one shows up

Only a dozen campaign workers attend event to support Moussa Mustafa Moussa, the sole rival of incumbent Sissi, whom he ardently supports himself

People hold banners of Egyptian presidential candidate Moussa Mustafa Moussa on a street in downtown Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, March 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)
People hold banners of Egyptian presidential candidate Moussa Mustafa Moussa on a street in downtown Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, March 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)

CAIRO (AP) — The sole candidate running against Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi in this month’s national election has attempted to organize a rally, but no one showed up.

About a dozen workers from the campaign of Moussa Mustafa Moussa carried posters of him about 100 meters (yards) in downtown Cairo on Sunday, stopping well short of the end of their planned march. At least twice as many photographers and cameramen from state and private media documented the march.

Moussa, chairman of the small secular Al-Ghad party, is an ardent Sissi supporter and entered the race at the eleventh hour to save the incumbent Sissi, who is virtually certain to win, and his government the embarrassment of a one-candidate vote.

Egyptian presidential candidate Moussa Mustafa Moussa, center left, arrives in front of his campaign headquarters in downtown in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, March 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)

A string of potentially serious challengers, including a former prime minister and military chief of staff, have been arrested or intimidated out of the race.

Hundreds of billboard advertisements in support of the incumbent sprung up last week alongside existing ones on the streets of Cairo, almost all bearing the image of a smiling Sissi, with slogans focusing on the economy and security.

His supporters organize daily rallies across much of the country, with most of the emphasis on persuading voters to come out and cast their ballots next month. Sissi himself has yet to appear at any campaign rallies.

Significantly, campaign banners for the challenger, Moussa, have been conspicuously absent.

Moussa told the independent al-Shorouk daily last month that he did not intend to request a debate with Sissi. “I am a pragmatic and realistic man and I know that Sissi has massive achievements to his name,” he said.

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