CAIRO- Registration opened on Thursday for candidates standing in Egypt’s presidential election in December with incumbent President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi widely expected to win a third term in office.
Eligible candidates have until Oct. 14 to apply.
A presidential hopeful has to be approved by at least 20 members of parliament, or collect at least 25,000 endorsements from eligible voters in 15 of Egypt’s 27 provinces to qualify for running.
The vote will be held over three days on Dec. 10-12, with Egyptians living abroad able to cast their ballots on Dec. 1-3.
Earlier this week, al-Sissi, whose backers dominate the parliament, announced his bid to run for a new six-year term.
Following the announcement, pro-government televisions showed thousands of al-Sissi’s supporters celebrating in several cities of Egypt.
Several leaders in political parties loyal to al-Sissi have announced their intention to stand for president.
Opposition politician Ahmed al-Tantawi, an ex-lawmaker, also said he will run, and accused security agencies of arresting some of his supporters.
Al-Tantawi has toured several Egyptian provinces in recent days in an attempt to collect enough endorsements of his bid amid alleged obstruction from al-Sissi’s loyalists.
On Tuesday, al-Tantawi appealed to Egyptians abroad to endorse him.
“We need you in another mission, not only to support the economy, but to liberate the political decision and free Egyptians’ will,” the 44-year-old said in an online video.
The polls will be held amid an economic crisis, soaring inflation and a sharply depreciated local currency.
In 2013, the army led by al-Sissi deposed Egypt’s democratically elected but divisive Islamist president Mohammed Morsi.
Al-Sissi first took office in 2014 and was re-elected in 2018.
Egypt has since seen a crackdown on freedom of expression, with hundreds of secular activists and Islamists imprisoned or forced into exile, which has triggered an outcry from human rights advocates.
In recent months, the government has released dozens of detained dissidents. (dpa/NAN)