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Last Challenger to Egypt's Sissi Withdraws from Presidential Race


Presidential candidate Khaled Ali gives a press conference at his office in Cairo, Egypt, Jan. 17, 2018.

Prominent Egyptian human rights lawyer Khaled Ali, the last main challenger of incumbent Abdel Fattah el-Sissi in Egypt’s presidential race, announced Wednesday he has dropped out.

“We today announce our decision not to enter this race, and will not present our candidacy papers,” Ali said in Cairo.

The announcement came a day after Egypt’s military detained former army chief of staff Lieutenant General Sami Anan — the only other serious challenger to general-turned-president Sissi in the presidential race.

Candidates had reported media attacks against them and intimidation of their supporters in an election they say is stacked in favor of Sissi.

One challenger, former lawmaker Mohammed Anwar Sadat, said that he withdrew his candidacy partially because he feared for the safety of his supporters.

FILE - Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi delivers a statement following a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Nov. 26, 2014.
FILE - Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi delivers a statement following a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Nov. 26, 2014.

Earlier this month, Former Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq, widely seen as the most serious political challenger to Sissi, reversed his promise to challenge the sitting president.

Shafiq, who had been in exile in the United Arab Emirates since 2012, said that his five year absence from Egypt had distanced him from being able to closely follow relevant issues in Egypt.

Egypt will hold its presidential elections between March 26 and 28 this year. First round results will be announced on April 2, and a runoff election will take place April 24-26, if needed.

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