Main opposition candidate abandons Egypt’s presidential race

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Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi

On October 13, Ahmed al-Tantawi, an opposition politician in Egypt, announced his withdrawal from the presidential race, citing weeks of allegations of harassment and arrests by the authorities as the primary reason for his decision.

Expressing his concern, the politician stated that “Whoever believes that the problems in Egypt will be solved if the elections end up with the current president remaining in power, needs to think twice, because he is the root of the problem and does not have any desire or ability to contemplate this fact or review himself”.

Despite initially receiving substantial support when he declared his challenge to the incumbent President, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Tantawi was only able to secure 14,000 endorsements, falling short of the required 25,000 endorsements needed to officially register his candidacy. To qualify for the presidential race, each candidate needed to submit endorsements from either 20 lawmakers or 25,000 citizens by October 15.

Ahmed al-Tantawi had previously reported that over the past few weeks, more than 100 of his supporters were detained. Tantawi’s campaign had consistently claimed that it faced harassment and arrests by the authorities. Several of its members publicly stated that they had experienced physical assaults or encountered obstacles when attempting to register their endorsements. Tantawi himself alleged that his phone had been under surveillance since September 2021.

Egypt announced that the presidential elections are scheduled for December 10 to 12, and President Sisi subsequently officially declared his intention to seek a third term.


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