Khaled Ali, social rights lawyer and former presidential candidate, announced on Sunday that he will not be running in the coming presidential elections.
“I will not be part of this [masquerade],” Ali said, during a press conference at the Press Syndicate.
Cancelling the 1914 Assembly Law and the 2013 Protest Law would be necessary in order to hold “real presidential elections”, he said, as well as releasing all detainees who were not arrested for possession of weapons or murder. He also called for amending the Presidential Elections Law and keeping the armed forces away from politics.
The presidency issued the Presidential Elections Law last week to govern the coming presidential elections. The law, in its final form, prohibits citizens from filing appeals against any decisions made by the Supreme Electoral Commission (SEC), the body responsible for the electoral process.
Ali criticised the newly issued law for requiring presidential candidates to have received a form of higher education. He pointed out that there are farmers and workers who are not university graduates, that are perfectly fit to run for president.
The former presidential candidate condemned other criteria listed by the Presidential Elections Law for presidential candidates, such as the “short” duration reserved for campaigning.
Article 17 of the law states that campaigning starts 30 days before election day, and ends two days ahead of voting.
Ali also warned that campaigners might be stopped under the Protest Law. The law requires submitting a notice to the concerned authorities before holding any planned protests, meetings or assemblies at least three working days in advance.
The former presidential candidate criticised current media practices. He accused the media of persecuting those who go against the mainstream version of events.
Ali meanwhile criticised the possible presidential bid of Defence Minister Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi. He stressed that it is integral for the armed forces to steer clear of political struggles and to focus on protecting the nation, adding that the current circumstances “are not fit for the defence minister to run for president.”
Two weeks ago, Al-Sisi said he would complete the necessary procedures in “the next few days” to enter the race to be Egypt’s next president. He is nevertheless yet to officially and clearly announce he is running for president.
On Thursday, Former Chief of Staff of the Egyptian Armed Forces Sami Anan announced he would not take part in the presidential race. Anan was the only one to announce his clear intention to run for president, alongside former Presidential Candidate and founder of Al-Tayar Al-Shaaby (Popular Current) Hamdeen Sabahy.
In a statement released on Thursday, Sabahy’s campaign criticised portions of the Presidential Elections Law but reaffirmed its intention to contest the presidential race.
Another former presidential candidate, Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh, announced in February that he will not run during the coming presidential elections. The former candidate said that nothing indicates that the coming presidential elections will be fair. “I won’t take part in deceiving people into believing we have a democratic path when we don’t,” he said.