January 29, 2018 / 12:31 PM / a year ago

Egypt's elections find last-minute challenger to Sisi

Supporters of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi dance on the seventh anniversary of the uprising that ended the 30-year reign of Hosni Mubarak in Tahrir square in Cairo, Egypt January 25, 2018. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian politician Mousa Mostafa Mousa said on Monday he would compete in presidential elections, hours before a nomination deadline was set to make President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi the sole candidate after withdrawals and a boycott call.

Several leading opposition figures called on Sunday for a boycott of the March election, citing a wave of repression that has cleared the field of challengers to Sisi and left his top opponent in jail.

Former military commander Sisi was elected in 2014, a year after leading the army to oust Islamist President Mohamed Mursi. He is expected to easily win the vote, the third since protests in 2011 unseated long-time ruler Hosni Mubarak.

Mousa, who leads the Ghad party, told Reuters he was at the electoral commission registering his candidacy after having collected the required number of nomination pledges.

Would-be candidates are required to register by 2 p.m. (1200 GMT) on Monday after clinching at least 20 nominations from parliament or 25,000 pledges from citizens across the country.

Reporting by Nadine Awadalla and Momen Abdelkhalek; Writing by Eric Knecht; Editing by Robin Pomeroy

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