Egypt to Hold 2018 Presidential Elections in March

Head of the National Election Commission (NEC), Lasheen Ibrahim, speaks during a news conference in Cairo, Egypt January 8, 2018. Photo Credit: REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany


Egypt will hold a presidential election from March 26-28, with a run-off in April. Lasheen Ibrahim, the chairman of the national election authority, announced the dates for the election on Monday.

Ibrahim said that candidate registration will start on January 20 and close on January 29, noting that electoral campaigns will kick off on February 22. Results of the first round will be announced on April 2, Ibrahim said.

However, in case of a runoff, he added, polls will be held from April 19-21 for expatriates (Egyptians abroad) and on April 24-26 in Egypt. A run-off shall be held if no candidate secures more than 50% of the vote.

“Final results will be announced on May 1,” he said.

This is the third presidential elections since the 2011 uprising. Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi took office in mid-2014, a year after he led the ouster of his Islamist predecessor Mohammed Morsi in July 2013 in response to mass protests against Morsi’s one-year rule and his now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group.

Although he has yet to formally announce his candidacy for the 2018 election, Sisi is widely expected to do so and to earn a landslide victory due to the absence of competitive challengers in the presidential bid.

Back in late December, A pro-Sisi campaign said in late December that it collected over 12 million signatures of Egyptians, more than 11 percent of the population, supporting Sisi to run for a second presidential term.

Egyptian rights and opposition lawyer Khaled Ali announced in November his intention to join the 2018 presidential race. However, there is a possibility for Ali’s disqualification as he had received a suspended three-month jail term in September over an obscene hand gesture he reportedly made after winning a court order challenging the government back in January 2017.

In November, former prime minister Ahmed Shafik announced that he intends to run for president in the upcoming presidential elections. But he announced on Sunday he will not run against Sisi in elections due later this year. He added that his absence from Egypt for more than five years prevented him away from carefully following up on developments in the country.

“I have realized that I would not be the ideal person to run the state affairs during the coming period. Thus I have decided not to run in the upcoming 2018 presidential elections”, Shafik said in a statement posted on Twitter on Sunday.

The 76-year-old, an ex-air force commander and former aviation minister, narrowly lost a presidential election to Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Mursi in 2012 before fleeing for the United Arab Emirates, where he has lived since.