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Sisi Under Spotlight as Egypt Sets Late March Election Date

Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, President of Egypt, gives a press conference in Addis Ababa on March 24, 2015. Egyptian President is visiting Ethiopia for the next two days. He met Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of Ethiopia, to discuss relations between the two countries as well as the recent water deal signed with the Nile Countries. AFP Photo / Zacharias Abubeker (Photo credit should read ZACHARIAS ABUBEKER/AFP/Getty Images)

Reuters: Egypt will hold a presidential election in late March, authorities said on Monday, starting the countdown towards a likely second term in office for incumbent Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Sisi has yet to announce his candidacy for the ballot, which was scheduled for March 26-28.

But he is widely expected to run, having won a landslide victory in the previous election in 2014, the year after – as a military commander – he led the overthrow of elected president Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The national election commission said candidates must register between Jan 20-29 and that, in the event of no single participant winning a majority first time around, a run-off would be held on April 24-26.

The election will be Egypt’s third since the 2011 uprising that ended strongman Hosni Mubarak’s long rule.

Former prime minister Ahmed Shafik, who was seen as the most serious potential challenger to Sisi’s rule, said on Sunday he was no longer considering running.

Another presidential hopeful, rights lawyer Khaled Ali, faces a potential three-month prison sentence handed down in September for public indecency over an alleged rude hand gesture he made outside a courthouse last year.

He may be disqualified from standing if he loses his appeal on March 7.

Lasheen Ibrahim, the judge heading the commission, told a news conference it would “spare no effort in running elections in accordance with the highest standards of fairness and international transparency.”

First round results will be announced on April 2 and, in the event of a run-off, final ones on May 1.

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