After arresting top opposition candidates and sidelining potential contenders in the Presidential elections, the Egyptian regime managed to find at the last minute a challenger to President Abdel Fatah Sisi.
The Egyptian politician Mousa Mostafa Mousa has said he will stand in the presidential elections, hours before a nomination deadline was set to make President Sisi the sole candidate after withdrawals and a boycott call.
Mousa said he had netted 47,000 pledges and the backing of 36 lawmakers. The electoral commission said last week that Sisi had earned more than 1 million pledges. Over 500 of the parliament’s 595 lawmakers had already pledged support for Sisi.
The vote, slated for March 26-28, has come under heavy criticism from the United Nations, rights groups, and opposition figures who say its environment has been compromised by intimidation of opposition supporters, arrests, and a nomination process stacked in favor of the incumbent.
Sisi, a former military commander, was elected in 2014, a year after leading the army to oust the Islamist president Mohamed Morsi. He is expected to easily win the vote, the third since protests in 2011 unseated long-time ruler Hosni Mubarak.
A retired top general named Sami Anan, seen as the last remaining real threat to the outgoing President, was arrested just days after he announced plans to challenge Sisi for the presidency .