CAIRO – The head of a minor Egyptian political party registered on Monday at the last minute to challenge President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in the March presidential election, the official MENA news agency reported.
Moussa Mustafa Moussa, of the al-Ghad Party, submitted the documents for his candidacy just minutes before the election authority’s deadline for accepting applications, becoming al-Sisi’s only rival.
MENA did not say how Moussa managed to gather either the written support of at least 20 parliamentarians or collect 25,000 signatures from citizens with voting rights residing in at least 15 provinces, as election laws require.
Before Sunday, al-Sisi was the only candidate after all other potential candidates for the presidency either dropped out or were arrested.
Former Chief of Staff Sami Anan was arrested on Jan. 23, while leftist opposition leader Khaled Ali dropped out on Jan. 24 and former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq withdrew on Jan. 7.
Moussa’s al-Ghad Party was originally founded at the end of 2004 by Ayman Nour, a prominent opponent of the regime of Hosni Mubarak, who was overthrown in 2011.
The party was divided into two groups with the same name due to internal tensions between Nour and Moussa in 2005.
In 2012, the al-Ghad Party, led by Moussa, merged with other parties to become the Egyptian Congress Party.