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  • Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi during a news conference after talks with Russia's President Vladimir Putin in Cairo, Egypt, December 2017.

    Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi during a news conference after talks with Russia's President Vladimir Putin in Cairo, Egypt, December 2017. | Photo: Reuters/Alexander Zemlianichenko/Pool

Published 19 January 2018

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has declared his intentions to run for reelection in a televised announcement on Friday.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has announced he will run for a second term in office in March's elections, which he is expected to win by a wide margin.

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The former general's rule has brought political stability to the country, but his economic reforms and repression of political opposition has cost him popularity.

Sisi led the military coup that ousted Egypt's first freely elected president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, after the so-called "Arab Spring" protests forced long-time president Hosni Mubarak to resign.

One year later, Sisi became president with 96.91 percent of the votes in elections which were widely criticized by local and international organizations.

Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party didn't take part in the election process and was outlawed shortly thereafter.

Morsi has been held in prison since then, but the death sentence he was originally handed has since been overturned. Many of his party's militants and supporters have also been arrested for opposing the current administration.

Al-Sisi supporters say the president's harsh measures are needed in order to keep the country stable, as Egypt faces security challenges including attacks by Islamic State militants in the North Sinai region.

"I find myself standing here with my conscience, telling you in the frank and transparent ways we are accustomed to," Sisi said on Friday in front of the assembled crowd, noting that he was "hoping that you allow and accept my candidacy for the post of president of the republic."

The vote will be held March 26-28, with a run-off vote April 24-26 if no candidate wins more than 50 percent in the first round. Candidates are due to register from January 20 to 29.

In the televised announcement, Sisi listed Egypt's achievements during his first term, including a nascent financial recovery after years of political turmoil and economic instability.

"I pledge that the upcoming presidential election will be free and transparent... and be characterized by equal opportunities between candidates," Sisi said. He also urged Egyptian citizens to attend the polls, even if they're not voting for him.

Sisi's challengers have described a sweeping effort to kill off their campaigns before they have even begun, with media attacks on candidates, intimidation of supporters, and a nomination process stacked in favor of the former general.

The incumbent's most high-profile challengers are former Army chief of staff Sami Anan, and human rights lawyer and opposition leader Khaled Ali.

Essam Heggy, an Egyptian space scientist who served as the country's adviser for scientific affairs from 2013 to 2014, has also expressed his intentions to run. None of the candidates, however, are expected to garner enough votes to defeat Sisi.

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