Egypt presidential candidate to assess status

Khaled Ali withdraws from Egyptian presidential race

Supporters of General Sami Anan said he was held today after being summoned to Cairo for questioning over his political ambitions.

His candidacy announcement had come just hours after Sisi confirmed he would seek a second term in the March 26-28 election, the third since the 2011 overthrow of strongman Hosni Mubarak.

The Armed Forces General Command said the 69 year-old had pursued his election bid without prior approval from the military, and accused him of "explicitly inciting the armed forces" in his declaration speech on Saturday. In his video announcing his candidacy, Annan spoke of deteriorating living standards and what he called the "erosion" of the state's capabilities, and he blamed it on the policy of increasingly involving the military in the economy and politics.

Ali said he had aborted his campaign because of overwhelming obstacles that had prevented him from even getting on the ballot, and accused the elections committee of "violations".

On Friday, incumbent President, Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi, formally announced he will be running for a second and final term.

According to the Presidential elections law and the Egyptian constitution, presidential Candidates must 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.

Mr Sisi has been in power since 2013, after leading a military coup that ousted former leader Mohammed Morsi from power, before winning by a landslide in the 2014 presidential election.

Anan's son Samir Anan said late on Tuesday they had not heard from his father since his detention and did not know whether he was still at the Military Prosecutor's office or had been moved elsewhere.

On Tuesday, another potential challenger for the presidency, Sami Anan, was arrested by the army.




They included the arrest of some of his campaign activists, a tight schedule that made it hard for potential candidates to gather the needed endorsements for their applications, and a generally unfair climate.

Annan is not the first presidential candidate to give up his run after coming under pressure from institutions backing el-Sissi.

The NEC claimed that since Anan is affiliated with the country's Armed Forces he is prohibited from running for and being elected to political office.

But the lawyer had faced nearly insurmountable challenges from the start, initially in the form of a court case accusing him of making "an obscene gesture" outside a Cairo court.

The only remaining well-known potential candidate is now Mortada Mansour, the head of Egypt's legendary Zamalek football club.

Egypt was "hell-bent" on arresting and harassing anyone who stood against Sisi, Amnesty said.

Ahmed Shafik, a former prime minister and air force chief, abandoned a bid this month, saying that after several years living overseas he was out of touch with Egyptian politics.

Two other presidential hopefuls have also withdrawn.

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