By Viola Fahmy
CAIRO (AA) - It appears a contender has finally emerged to take on President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Egyptian presidential polls slated for March.
On Monday, Musa Mustafa Musa, head of the liberal Al-Ghad Party, formally registered his presidential candidacy -- just minutes before the deadline expired -- with Egypt’s official electoral commission, according to flagship Egyptian state daily Al-Ahram.
The commission is expected to unveil its final list of presidential candidates on Wednesday.
In a statement, Al-Ghad Party Vice-President Wagih Abu Hagar said Musa’s candidacy had the support of 27 Egyptian MPs and 48,000 registered voters.
According to Egypt’s electoral laws, candidates must obtain the support of at least 20 members of parliament or at least 25,000 registered voters.
In a surprise move on Sunday, Musa abruptly announced his intention to run in Egypt’s third presidential race since the 2011 popular uprising that forced autocratic President Hosni Mubarak to step down after three decades in power.
Last week, al-Sisi, who came to power in 2014 polls, became the first person to formally register his candidacy with the electoral commission.
Three other would-be candidates -- Khaled Ali, a prominent leftist; Ahmed Shafik, Mubarak’s last PM; and Mohamed Anwar al-Sadat, a veteran politician -- all appear to have withdrawn from the race after earlier announcing their intention to run.
Last week, the electoral commission annulled the candidacy of Gen. Sami Anan, a former army chief-of-staff, only hours after military prosecutors summoned him for questioning over alleged “irregularities”.
Egypt’s presidential elections are scheduled to take place from March 26 to 28.
A former defense minister, al-Sisi spearheaded the 2013 military coup against Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first freely elected president and a Muslim Brotherhood leader.