Early last week, the National Authority for Elections (NAE) in Egypt announced the timeline for the upcoming presidential election. Originally slated for the summer, the presidential elections will take place from March 26-28. Candidate nominations must be submitted between January 20-29. The NAE will announce those running for president by January 31, after which candidates will have one month, from February 24 through March 23, to campaign.
Over the past year, only a handful of individuals have announced their intention to run for president. Nearly all of them have run up against issues that effectively mean they cannot or will not run for the presidency.
The most high profile of the potential candidates is Ahmed Shafiq, a former air force commander and prime minister for a brief period during the January 25th uprising. Shafiq ran for president against Mohammed Morsi in 2012 and lost by only a small margin. After living for over five years in the United Arab Emirates, Shafiq announced his intention to return to Egypt and run for president last November. Shortly there after, Shafiq was deported from the UAE to Egypt after claiming Emirati authorities were preventing him from traveling to his home country. Shafiq’s family claims he was detained at a Cairo hotel upon arriving in Egypt, and was prevented from talking to them. Then, early last week, Shafiq withdrew from the presidential race.
The three other individuals running for who intend to run for president are Mortada Mansour, Khaled Ali, and Ahmed Konsowa. Mansour, the president of the FC Zamalek football team announced his intention to run for the presidency earlier this week. He has no political experience and claims he will ban Facebook if elected. Ali is an activist and human rights lawyer, currently facing trial on charges of “public indecency” after supposedly making an inappropriate hand gesture during a protest against the Tiran and Sanafir islands’ exchange in September. If convicted, Ali would be disqualified from running for office. Konsowa was a high-ranking army colonel and was arrested on unclear charges immediately after announcing his candidacy last November. He has since been sentenced to six years in prison, effectively preventing him from running as well.
These developments make it overwhelmingly likely that current President Abdel Fattah el Sisi will run and win yet again, as he is expected to stand for a second term. Last week, 464 Egyptian members of parliament endorsed Sisi’s prospective run. With just weeks to go before the January 31 candidate announcement, he is the only contender who has any real chance of winning.
In his first farcical election, Sisi was essentially the only candidate running for president and won 97% of the vote. This upcoming election will likely be no different.