Activist and rights lawyer Khaled Ali said that he will continue his bid for the Egyptian presidency in a Thursday press conference, calling on supporters to deliver his candidacy endorsement forms via a human chain.
Ali asked that those wishing to submit forms endorsing him for candidacy in the upcoming election, slated for March this year, form a human chain between his campaign office and the National Elections Authority (NEA) headquarters, both in downtown Cairo on January 25. The lawyer requested that, to mark the anniversary of the 2011 revolution, participants submit their forms while raising images of those killed in the revolution, political detainees and forcibly disappeared persons.
To submit an application to run in Egypt’s presidential election, a candidate must collect endorsements from at least 20 members of Parliament or from 25,000 eligible voters from 15 different governorates, with each governorate submitting at least 1,000 endorsements, according to the presidential elections law and the Constitution.
“We have decided to enter a difficult battle, some might call it impossible. Not because of the strength of our opponent, but due to the injustice of the conditions and circumstances,” he said during the conference, referring to difficulties facing presidential hopefuls and the small ten-day window during which the necessary endorsements for candidates must be gathered. The NEA announced during a Monday press conference that the endorsements must be registered by January 29.
Campaign Spokesperson Khaled al-Balshy told Mada Masr that campaign members have filed complaints of harassment by security forces. According to Balshy, the Dostour Party has offered Ali’s campaign use of their offices in several governorates due to the difficult security situation.
Ali said “we will fight the campaign battle stage by stage, and will not accept that the elections become a farce. We will make it a real battle, and will study and evaluate our moves every step of the way.”
Ali, who ran in the 2012 presidential elections and garnered over 100,000 votes, is currently facing a three-month prison sentence that may affect his eligibility for candidacy. He was accused of making an “indecent hand gesture” in public. His appeal is scheduled to take place before a misdemeanor appeals court on March 7.
Head of the Reform and Development Party Mohamed Anwar al-Sadat has also announced his intention to run, asserting that he will announce his final decision regarding his 2018 presidential bid in a press conference on Monday.
Former Mubarak-era minister Ahmed Shafiq previously announced his intention to take part in the elections on November 29, and was reportedly arrested on December 2 and deported from the United Arab Emirates, where he had been residing since 2012. After he arrived in Egypt, his family told media outlets that his whereabouts were unknown. He resurfaced during a television interview later that evening, but he has since rescinded his decision to run.
A military court sentenced Armed Forces Colonel Ahmed Konsowa to six years in prison on December 19 after he announced his plans to apply for candidacy while wearing his military uniform.