November 30, 2017
When human rights lawyer and ex-presidential candidate Khaled Ali became the first to announce on 6 November his bid for Egypt’s presidential elections, planned for around April 2018, it was hard to get excited about the prospect for change traditionally associated with such a contest.
Ali is one of a few candidates who have – so far- announced their intention to join the presidential race. On Wednesday, Ahmed Shafiq, former air force pilot and the last prime minister under Mubarak, who lost in a closely contested race against Mohammed Morsi in the 2012 elections, announced his bid from self-imposed exile in the United Arab Emirates.
How do you guarantee electoral transparency if you are dealing with an incumbent who controls all state institutions?
In a strange twist, Shafiq also claimed in a video posted on several media outlets including Al Jazeera that the UAE, where he had sought refuge for the past five years to avoid facing corruption probes in Egypt, had blocked him from leaving the country to prevent him from running against the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
Meanwhile, Sisi has yet to announce whether he will run again although he has reaffirmed his support for a two-term limit for the office of the president.
A third contestant is former army officer Ahmed Qunsuh, who declared his intention to run for the presidency in a video that circulated on social media platforms on Wednesday.