Egypt’s Sissi announces run for third term to ‘complete the dream’

A man, child, and woman ride a motorcycle across the street from an election campaign bus for Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi adorned with his image, his slogan 'long live Egypt,' and C-shaped balloons, as Sisi's supporters prepare for a rally outside the Cairo University campus in Giza, the twin-city of the Egyptian capital, on October 2, 2023. (Khaled Desouki/AFP)
A man, child, and woman ride a motorcycle across the street from an election campaign bus for Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi adorned with his image, his slogan 'long live Egypt,' and C-shaped balloons, as Sisi's supporters prepare for a rally outside the Cairo University campus in Giza, the twin-city of the Egyptian capital, on October 2, 2023. (Khaled Desouki/AFP)

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi announces his candidacy for a third term in office, ahead of December elections he is widely expected to win.

“As I have responded to the people’s call before, I heed the call now and announce my intention to run and complete the dream in a new presidential term,” Sissi, 68, tells a cheering crowd in Egypt’s new capital — the crowning jewel of a megaproject in the desert east of Cairo.

State-aligned television showed thousands of people celebrating the announcement in ready-built stages across the country.

Earlier on Monday, rallies were held in Cairo calling for Sissi to declare his candidacy.

Sissi urges Egyptians to head to the polls on December 10-12 “even if not to vote for me.”

The president, whose security forces have been accused of harassing and detaining opponents, applauds other candidates and hails “a real beginning to vibrant political life full of pluralism.”

A year after deposing Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, Sissi won 96 percent of the vote in 2014.

Four years later, he scored a 97-percent victory against one of his own supporters, after more prominent candidates were sidelined or arrested.

This time, as Egyptians grow increasingly frustrated with an unrelenting economic crisis, presidential hopefuls have emerged from the woodwork of an opposition decimated by Sissi’s decade-long crackdown on dissent.

A handful of party leaders have said they had already gathered the necessary 20 nominations from parliament.

Another challenger, former parliamentarian Ahmed al-Tantawi, has been trying to rally popular support on the campaign trail.

Without parliamentary backing, the 44-year-old will need to collect 25,000 nominations from Egyptians across at least 15 governorates by October 14 to be eligible.

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