Egypt to hold presidential elections in March

Egypt will hold a presidential election on March 26-28, with a runoff in April, the chairman of the country’s election commission said. 

Lasheen Ibrahim, the chairman of the national election authority, told a news conference in Cairo that a runoff will be held April 24-26 if no candidate secures more than 50 percent of the vote. 

"The provisional list of candidates and the numbers of their supporters will be published" in state-run newspapers Al-Ahram and Al-Akhbar on January 31, he said.

Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, the former army chief who has ruled Egypt since overthrowing an elected by divisive Islamist president in 2013, is widely expected to run and win a second four-year term. He has not yet announced that he will run. 

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is expected to run for a second four year termCredit:
Philippe Wojazer/Reuters

Authorities have waged a wide-scale crackdown on dissent since Mr Sisi seized power 2013 and several potential opposition candidates have either bowed out or are facing effective bans on making presidential bids. 

Khaled Ali, a prominent human rights activist, said last month that he would run against Mr Sisi but may be barred from the ballot over a controversial criminal conviction. 

Mr Ali was convicted and handed a three month suspended jail sentence in September for allegedly making an obscene hand gesture outside court last year. 

He has appealed the conviction, which would block him from running if it is not overturned. A court last week postponed a decision on his appeal.

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Egyptian human rights lawyer arrives at court to appeal his conviction earlier in JanuaryCredit:

Ahmed Konsowa, an army colonel who also announced his intention to run for president, was last month sentenced to six years in prison by a military tribunal for violating a ban on political activism by active duty officers.

Ahmed Shafiq, a former prime minister under Hosni Mubarak, the president ousted by a revolution in 2011, has ruled himself out of the race despite initially showing interest in running.

In a statement posted on social media on Sunday he said he wasn’t the "ideal person" to lead the nation at the present time.

Ahmed Shafiq has ruled himself out of the presidential raceCredit:
 Khalil Hamra/AP

Mr Shafiq narrowly lost to Mohammed Morsi in the first post-revolutionary elections in 2012. He left the country shortly afterwards and lived in United Arab Emirates until he returned to Egypt in December. 

The Egyptian government has blocked hundreds of websites and has banned all unauthorized demonstrations since Mr Sisi led the military overthrew of Mr Morsi in 2013.


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