By John Ikani
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has announced his candidacy for a third term in the upcoming December election.
The President confirmed his bid for a third term during a televised speech on Monday evening.
The election, scheduled for December 10 to 12, is anticipated to see el-Sisi secure another victory, despite Egypt grappling with economic challenges, high inflation, a devalued local currency, and allegations of harassment and intimidation against political opposition candidates.
“I have decided to nominate myself to continue the journey in a new presidential term,” declared el-Sisi, urging all Egyptians to engage in the democratic process and choose their leader with a sense of patriotism.
Approximately 65 million eligible Egyptian voters are expected to participate in the election, with Egyptians residing abroad having the opportunity to cast their ballots from December 1 to 3.
While a few politicians have expressed their presidential ambitions, none appear to present a significant challenge to el-Sisi, who assumed power in 2014 following the removal of Egypt’s first democratically-elected President, Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, in 2013.
El-Sisi previously won the presidential elections in 2014 and 2018 with overwhelming support, securing 97 percent of the vote.
Under el-Sisi’s leadership, Egypt has experienced a crackdown on freedom of expression, resulting in the imprisonment or exile of hundreds of activists and political opponents, leading to criticism from human rights advocates.
The Muslim Brotherhood has been designated as a “terrorist” organization, and the fragmented political opposition alleges increased pressure ahead of the upcoming election.
Ahmed al-Tantawi, a former member of parliament and a potential contender against el-Sisi, has reported obstacles in citizens attempting to endorse his candidacy.
Prospective candidates must either gather 25,000 public signatures or garner support from 20 members of the heavily pro-Sisi parliament to qualify for election.
Many individuals trying to register their support for al-Tantawi were informed of technical issues with the registration system, told to return later, or directed to alternative registration sites, according to Mohamed Abol Deyar, the campaign manager for the opposition figure.
The Civil Democratic Movement, an alliance of smaller opposition parties, has also reported numerous violations against citizens seeking to nominate candidates to challenge el-Sisi.
Egypt’s National Election Authority has launched an investigation into these complaints and labelled the allegations as baseless.