CAIRO – Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi presented on Wednesday official documents of his candidacy for the presidential elections, in which he aspires to his second term, one day after the arrest of one of his rivals.
The campaign team of al-Sisi delivered to the headquarters of the National Election Authority boxes with signatures endorsing the candidacy of the incumbent leader ahead of the elections in March.
Electoral legislation requires candidates to present the written support of at least 20 parliamentarians or 25,000 signatures of citizens with voting rights residing in at least 15 provinces.
Al-Sisi announced his candidacy for re-election on Friday, in the elections due to be held between March 26-28.
One of al-Sisi’s main rivals, former military chief Sami Anan, was arrested on Tuesday on accusations of several irregularities, including forging official documents to stand for election and inciting people against the military.
Previously, former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq had signaled a desire to participate in the elections only to back down weeks later, saying that he did not consider himself the “optimal person” to govern the country.
Another potential candidate, human rights lawyer Khaled Ali, is awaiting a judicial ruling on whether he made an “obscene gesture” in public, which will determine whether he is allowed to run for president.
Amnesty International on Wednesday called on the Egyptian authorities to stop interfering in the elections in favor of al-Sisi and urged them to stop “harassing” al-Sisi’s rivals.
“This arbitrary arrest of a potential presidential candidate shows a blatant disregard for the rights to freedom of expression and association and the right to public participation,” said AI regional director, Najia Bounaim.
The candidates for the presidency have a deadline to submit the necessary documents between Jan. 20-29, while al-Sisi is the only one that has taken this step so far.