x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

El Sissi formally submits signatures for presidential bid

Abdel El Sissi’s campaign says more signatures continue to pour into its Cairo headquarters, something it described as a “unique example of support and national backing” for the 59-year-old career soldier.

CAIRO // Egypt’s former military chief, Abdel Fattah El Sissi, on Monday took the final formal step to run in next month’s presidential election, submitting to the election commission eight times the number of signatures required, his campaign said in a statement.

Security guards delivered white boxes with an image of the retired soldier plastered on the side along with the name of the province from which it said the signatures were obtained.

Officials from the election commission could not be reached to confirm the campaign’s statement.

It is mandatory for any presidential hopeful to secure 25,000 signatures from at least 15 of the nation’s 27 provinces to run in the May 26-27 vote. Mr El Sissi, who removed President Mohammed Morsi last July, was the first hopeful to submit the signatures.

Mr El Sissi’s likely chief rival in the election is leftist politician Hamdeen Sabahi, who finished a strong third in the first round of the last presidential election, in June 2012.

Mr El Sissi’s campaign says more signatures continue to pour into its Cairo headquarters, something it described as a “unique example of support and national backing” for the 59-year-old career soldier.

Mr El Sissi is the most likely winner of next month’s vote. Many Egyptians see him as a potential saviour, delivering the nation of some 90 million people from its seemingly countless woes.

Mr El Sissi, however, has yet to announce an election programme that clearly spells out what he intends to do to revive the economy, restore security and save the vital tourism sector from its slump.

The run-up to the election has been marred by continuing street protests by Mr Morsi supporters, who clash nearly daily with security forces. Mr Morsi himself and most leaders of his Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group from which he hails, are on trial on charges that range from espionage and incitement of murder to corruption and conspiring with foreign groups.

A student was shot dead on Monday during clashes between supporters Mr Morsi and police in Cairo University, security officials said.

* Associated Press & Agence France-Presse