Egyptian President Aspires to Second Term of Office

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Egyptian President Abdelfatah Al-Sisi announced on Friday that he is running for a second term in office in the race to kick off in March.

Campaigning begins on February 24 and will last until March 23.

"A statement to the great people of Egypt, Sami Anan will run for president in the 2018 elections", said the secretary-general of the party, founded by Anan, in a statement on his Facebook page.

Late on Friday (19 January), just as largely expected, al-Sisi, 63, announced he would contest in the March presidential race.

"I made my decision to present my nomination papers to the National Electoral Commission as a presidential candidate, in accordance to the announced rules and dates by the commission", Anan said.

Sisi is widely expected to win in the first round, which is to be held March 26-28.

Sisi's critics say his popularity has been hurt by austerity reforms, security problems, a crackdown on dissidents and his decision to hand two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia, which showered Egypt with billions of dollars of aid, touching a nationalistic nerve.

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"There are people I know who are corrupt, I will not allow them to come near this chair", Sisi said earlier in the ceremony without elaborating.

He said he had "done all I could".

He called on voters to take part in the elections en masse, renewing his resolve to address all challenges facing the country, notably the terrorist threats.

President Sisi came to power in a military coup that overthrew Egypt's first democratically-elected President Mohamad Morsi in 2013.

Enan stated that he'll be submitting his candidacy documents to the NEC right after he completes the requirements as per military law, as a former army chief of staff, to run.

Earlier this month, more than 490 MPs signed forms supporting the candidacy of Sisi, in order to make him eligible for competing for a second term. Public figures, actors and parliamentarians were amongst the crowd.

"Regardless of who your vote will be for, all that I wish of you (is that you) show the world your participation in the elections and choose whoever you wish to", said Sisi. "This is not his will, this is the will of all of us", he added.