Egyptian politician Mousa Mostafa Mousa said on Monday he would compete in presidential elections, hours before a nomination deadline was set to make President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi the sole candidate after withdrawals and a boycott call.
Several leading opposition figures called for a boycott on Sunday, of the March election, citing a wave of repression that has cleared the field of challengers to Sisi and left his top opponent in jail.
Former military commander Sisi was elected in 2014, a year after leading the army to oust Islamist President Mohamed Mursi.
He is expected to easily win the vote, the third since protests in 2011 unseated long-time ruler Hosni Mubarak.
Several opposition candidates who had earlier expressed interest in contesting for the presidency have since withdrawn their bids, citing intimidation from state agencies and an electoral process biased to favor the incumbent.
Mousa, who leads the Ghad party, told Reuters he was at the electoral commission registering his candidacy after having collected the required number of nomination pledges.
Mousa, who studied architecture in France and heads the Egyptian Council for Arab Tribes, became the chairperson of El-Ghad Party in September, 2005, following fierce disputes with the party’s founder Ayman Nour who founded El-Ghad Party in 2004.
Would-be candidates were required to register by 2 p.m. (1200 GMT) on Monday after clinching at least 20 nominations from parliament or 25,000 pledges from citizens across the country.
The electoral commission has since closed the nominations and will announce the final list of presidential candidates on Wednesday as per the electoral schedule.
Voting in the 2018 presidential election in Egypt will commence on March 26, as announced by the National Electoral Authority (NEA) on January 8. Sixty million eligible voters will cast their ballots in the election between March 26 and 28 in Egypt, while expatriates will vote between March 16 and 18.