January 8, 2018 / 3:29 PM / 2 years ago

Egypt sets March 26-28 as presidential election date

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi speaks during a news conference after the talks with Russia's President Vladimir Putin in Cairo, Egypt December 11, 2017. REUTERS/Alexander Zemlianichenko/Pool

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt will hold a presidential election on March 26-28, with the incumbent Abdel Fattah al-Sisi widely expected to seek a second term in office.

Sisi, who won a landslide victory after he led the military overthrow of elected President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013, has yet to announce his candidacy.

Candidates must submit their official bids to the commission between Jan 20-29. Announcing the date, the national election commission said a run-off would be held on April 24-26 if needed.

It will be Egypt’s third election since the 2011 uprising which ended strongman Hosni Mubarak’s long rule.

Sisi’s most serious potential challenger, former prime minister Ahmed Shafik, recalled his candidacy on Sunday saying his time back in Egypt has led him to reconsider the decision.

Shafik returned to Egypt from the United Arab Emirates in December after announcing his intention to run, setting off a firestorm of criticism from state-aligned media.

“Exercise your right to run for office and vote, do your duty of choosing the president of your country, your voice will certainly make a difference,” Lasheen Ibrahim, the judge heading the comission, said at a news conference in Cairo.

First round results will be announced on April 2 and, in the event of a run-off, on May 1.

Reporting by Omar Fahmy and Nadine Awadalla; Editing by Angus MacSwan

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