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Sisi election becomes one-horse race, as Egypt's oldest party withdraws from presidential vote

Egypt's Wafd Party has withdrawn from upcoming presidential elections [AFP]

Date of publication: 28 January, 2018

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Egypt's Wafd Party will not field a challenger against President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi in upcoming presidential elections, after a spate of attacks on regime opponents.

 

Egypt's oldest political party will not field a challenger to President Abdul Fatah al-Sisi in upcoming elections, the Wafd announced Sunday.

The New Wafd Party has been under pressure from some regime supporters to put forward a name to run against Sisi in March's presidential vote.

Chairman of the liberal party El-Sayed El-Badawi withdrew from the race Saturday just hours after his name was put forward.

The Wafd Party's leadership voted overwhelmingly to not support Badawi in the race, while the chairman gave his public backing for Sisi in March's election after he withdrew his name.

It follows a campaign of harassment against Sisi challengers, which included the arrest of the only potential threat to the president during the election Lt. Gen. Sami Anan.

The former army chief-of-staff's campaign aide was brutally assaulted outside his home Saturday, in what appears to have been a botched kidnapping.

Others have stepped aside or face trumped up charges after challenging the president.

Sisi supporters are still keen to have other, more compliant names in the election to add a facade of credibility to what has become a one horse race.

The predecessor to the current Wafd Party played a pivotal rule in Egyptian politics during the first half of the 20th century and its nationalist members were central to anti-imperialist revolts against the British.

The current incarnation has been fully compliant with the Sisi's regime and given its backing to the president in elections. Sisi – then defence minister - came to power when a military coup overthrew Egypt's first democratically-elected government in 2013.

A clampdown on opposition has left Sisi, his backers and the military with almost sole power in the country.

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