Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi on Monday confirmed he will run for a new term in elections scheduled for December.
The president announced his candidacy at the end of a three-day national conference called the “Story of Homeland” attended by the country’s leading politicians and broadcast by Egypt’s Extra News television channel, which has close ties to Egyptian security agencies.
“I have decided to nominate myself to you to complete the dream of a new presidential term,” el-Sissi said as the conference's attendees cheered and clapped.
Egypt will hold a presidential election over three days on December 10-12, with a runoff on Jan. 8-10 if no candidate secures more than 50% of the vote.
“I promise you, god willing, that it will be an extension of our common quest for the sake of Egypt and its people," el-Sissi said.
Egypt's presidential election will take place in December, rather than in the spring of 2024 as the Constitution allows, a deadline shortened by economic considerations in the country caught between inflation and devaluation, according to observers.
El-Sissi enters the race as the clear favorite. He will be running at a time when purchasing power is steadily eroding in this country of 105 million inhabitants: inflation is running at 40%, the 50% devaluation in recent months has pushed up the price of goods.
A handful of contenders
A handful of politicians have already announced their bids to run for the country’s highest post, but none poses a serious challenge to el-Sissi, who has ruled the country since 2014 and has faced criticism from the West over his country’s human rights record. Among the challengers is Ahmed Altantawy, a former lawmaker and critic of the current government.
Candidacies must be submitted in October, the election campaign will run from November 9 to 29, and Egyptian expatriates will vote from December 1 to 3.
El-Sissi, a former defense minister, led the military overthrow of the elected president in 2013 amid street protests against his one-year rule. Since then, authorities have launched a major crackdown on dissent.
Thousands of government critics have been silenced or jailed, mainly Islamists but also many prominent secular activists, including many of those behind the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak.
He was first elected in 2014 and reelected in 2018 for a second four-year term. Constitutional amendments, passed in a referendum in 2019, added two years to his second term, and allowed him to run for a third, six-year term.s