A leading left-of-center politician has filed the required documentation to run in Egypt’s presidential election. Hamdeen Sabahi is seen as the main rival to former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sissi.
Hamdeen Sabahi submitted the paperwork in person at the headquarters of Eqypt's electoral commission in Cairo on Saturday. Among the documents were more than 31,000 signatures of Egyptian citizens endorsing his candidacy, well above the required 25,000.
"We are fighting a fierce battle for achieving freedom and social justice in Egypt," said Sabahi, who was accompanied by dozens of his supporters. "I hope the election process will be fair and transparent," he added.
Sabahi finished third in the 2012 presidential election, which was won by the Islamist, Mohamed Morsi. However, he has been given little chance of winning the May 26-27 vote, but he is seen as the main rival to the favorite, Abdel Fattah al-Sissi. The former head of the army, who toppled Morsi amid massive anti-government protests last July, registered his candidacy on Monday, submitting more than 200 signatures to the electoral commission.
Sissi's supporters regard him as someone capable of bringing stability to a country that has been in turmoil since longtime strongman Hosni Mubarak stepped down in the face of mass protests against his rule in 2011. The former army chief's critics, though, cite a crackdown on Morsi's supporters as evidence that a Sissi election win would mark a return to the autocratic style of government experienced under Mubarak.
The electoral commission is to publish the final field of candidates on May 2, with the campaigning to start officially one day later.
pfd/jm (dpa, AFP, Reuters)