Sisi, Sabahi Square Off In Egypt's Presidential Race

Egypt's presidential contenders have been announced: former army Field Marshal Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, and leftist Hamdeen Sabahi.
Posted at 10:55 PM, Apr 20, 2014

Egypt's deadline to enroll for presidential elections expired Sunday, leaving two contenders left in the race to lead the turmoil-stricken country.

Unsurprisingly, one of the two candidates is former Field Marshal Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, who stepped down from the military last month to enter the race. Last year Sisi played a key role in the ousting of Egypt's last president Mohammed Morsi. (Via Euronews)

Opposing Sisi is Hamdeen Sabahi, a leftist politician who came in third during Egypt's first presidential election in 2012. A longtime activist, Sabahi has been jailed over a dozen times by previous Egyptian governments. (Via YouTube / Hamdeen Sabahy)

Both Sisi and Sabahi managed to gather more than the 25,000 signatures of support required to register. Ahram Online reports two more prospective candidates failed to meet that requirement and dropped out of the race.

A France 24 reporter notes Sabahi plans to campaign on the strength of Egypt's anti-government revolution. "When he announced his decision to run, he told his supporters, 'The revolution must rule.'"

But although the election is still a month away, the BBC reports Sisi is expected to win in a landslide. "Many Egyptians see in him the strong leader needed to overcome the instability that has beset Egypt since the mass protests in Cairo's Tahrir Square ended President Hosni Mubarak's long rule in 2011."

Egypt's 2014 election is shaping up to be a far cry from its 2012 election, which had over a dozen candidates from across the political spectrum, and wound up electing Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood leader. (Via ABC)

Activists and human rights groups blame the changed political landscape on military crackdowns following Morsi's deposition. At least 1,000 people have been killed and thousands imprisoned, and the Muslim Brotherhood has been branded a terrorist group.

A media crackdown has also stifled dissent in Egypt. Three Al Jazeera journalists were imprisoned in December, and the network reported Sunday a popular Egyptian satirist has been pulled off the air by the government until after the election is over.

Both candidates formally start their election campaigns on May 3. The first round of polling will be held May 26-27.