President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi announced Friday night that he will run in the fast approaching 2018 presidential election.
The announcement came at the end of a three-day conference, where Al-Sisi and the Egyptian government presented a list of accomplishments in different fields.
The president also tweeted his intention to run. “Allow me to announce my bid to run for the upcoming presidential term and what I hope from you is to show the world the scale of your participation in the presidential election regardless of your choice #StoryOfANation,” the tweet read, the hashtag referring to the name of the conference.
He called on Egyptian voters to go to the polls to “show the world the size of participation in the election,” regardless of their choice of candidate.
“I promise you that the upcoming presidential election will be a title for freedom and transparency, and that the candidates will have equal opportunities,” he said.
Thousands have already signed endorsements for Al-Sisi, with several campaigns starting mass conferences gearing to support the president. The president had always stated that he would not run for re-election against the people’s will.
Candidates seeking to run in the election should receive endorsements from a minimum of 20 MPs, or 25,000 citizens from at least 15 governorates, with at least 1,000 endorsements from each governorate. According to the Egyptian constitution, the president is entitled to run for a second four-year term.
At the same time, former military chief of staff Samy Anan appeared in a video announcing that he will run in the upcoming presidential election. He said that his candidacy comes “to save the Egyptian state.”
He announced the formation of a civil core for the presidential system, consisting of Hesham Genena, former head of the Central Auditing Organisation, who would be his deputy for human rights and activating transparency, and Hazem Hosni, professor at the Faculty of Politics and Economics at Cairo University as his spokesperson.
Anan called on the civil and military institutions of the state to be neutral towards all who announced their intention to run for president.
Moreover, lawyer Khaled Ali confirmed his intention to run in the election, while former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq renounced his previously proclaimed intention to run in the election.
Last week, MP Mortada Mansour announced that he is planning to run in the upcoming presidential election, in a phone call with TV presenter Ahmed Moussa during his evening talk show. Meanwhile, MP Mohamed Anwar Al-Sadat—nephew of the former president of the same name—said at press conference that he decided not seek the presidency.
On 8 January, Egypt’s National Electoral Commission announced that the 2018 presidential election would begin abroad on 16 March and on 26 March in Egypt. Also, if needed, a run-off will be held in April if no candidate secures more than 50% of the vote.
Candidates must present their application between 20 and 29 January, and the official list of those running will be published in state-run Al-Ahram and Al-Akhbar newspapers by the end of January.