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Party chief to take on Egypt's Sisi in presidency polls

Party chief to take on Egypt's Sisi in presidency polls

Sisi, a former military commander, was elected in 2014, a year after leading the army to oust the Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

In a surprise move on Sunday, Musa abruptly announced his intention to run in Egypt's third presidential race since the 2011 popular uprising that forced autocratic President Hosni Mubarak to step down after three decades in power.

Mousa, who leads the Ghad party, told Reuters he was at the electoral commission registering his candidacy after having collected the required number of nomination pledges.

Even before campaigning has officially begun, the United Nations, rights groups and opposition figures criticized the run-up as compromised by arrests, intimidation of opponents and a nomination process stacked in favor of the incumbent. He dismissed accusations that his candidacy was being used to present a false sense of competition.

The electoral commission has said it will ensure the vote is fair and transparent.

According to Al-Ahram Arabic news site, Moussa has managed to collect 47,000 endorsements from eligible voters and 26 endorsements from parliament members. El-Sissi, by contrast, is said to have earned over 1 million pledges, with the backing of over 500 of parliament's 595 lawmakers.

Since nominations opened for the upcoming elections, several prospective challengers to el-Sissi have either dropped out or been disqualified from running.

Party chief to take on Egypt's Sisi in presidency polls

Reuters reported on Sunday that Hisham Genena, a former anti-corruption watchdog chief - who had been working to elect former military chief-of-staff Lieutenant General Sami Anan, who is now under arrest at a military prison - was attacked outside his home on Saturday in what his lawyer described as a failed kidnap attempt.

Lawyer Nasser Amin said on Saturday that he was able to visit General Sami Anan, who was arrested last week.

A runoff vote will be held in April if no candidate receives more than 50 percent support in the first round.

Analysts said Mousa's snap nomination suggested the state was looking to avoid a single-candidate election.

Early on Monday, Mussa's Facebook page carried a portrait of the president, with the statement "Long live Egypt: Abdel Fattah al-Sisi for president".

Sisi's second term in office is believed to be a foregone conclusion after several other potential presidential contenders pulled out of the race.


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