July 31, 2014
Former army chief, leftist only candidates in Egypt presidential election
The former army general who toppled Egypt's first freely elected president will face a leftist politician in next month's presidential election, as they were the only candidates to enter before nominations closed, the committee organising the vote said.
The committee had received paperwork from former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and former parliamentarian and presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi, it said at a news conferencetoday, several hours after the deadline had passed.
The elections will be held in a barren political climate after the 2011 uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak raised hopes of a robust democracy in the biggest Arab nation.
Neither candidate has outlined a strategy for tackling poverty, energy shortages and unemployment that afflict many of Egypt's 85 million people.
Abdelaziz Salman, secretary-general of the Presidential Elections Committee, said that Sisi had submitted 188,930 signatures endorsing his candidacy to the committee, and Sabahi had submitted 31,555. The required number is 25,000.
The committee will announce the official list of candidates on May 2 for the vote on May 26-27. Campaigning will run from May 3 to 23.
Tarek Shebl, a member of the committee, told Reuters after the news conference that if the winning candidate does not get 50 percent plus one of the total number of votes cast, a run-off will be held.
Sisi, who deposed President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood last year, is expected to win the vote easily.
He has gained cult-like adulation from supporters who see him as a saviour who can end the political turmoil dogging the country since an army-backed popular uprising ended Mubarak's three-decade rule in 2011.
Islamists, many of whom have been driven underground, view Sisi as the mastermind of a coup.