Former Defence Minister Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has collected more than 500,000 signatures of support, though his campaign only submitted around 190,000 to the Supreme Electoral Commission (SEC), said Al-Sisi’s legal advisor Mohamed Bahaa Abu Shoqqa Wednesday.
In the first press conference held by Al-Sisi’s presidential campaign, Abu Shoqqa said the campaign was able to collect 75,000 signatures on the day the floor for collecting signatures was opened, 31 March. Each presidential hopeful needs at least 25,000 signatures of support to be eligible to run for president.
Al-Sisi, who announced his resignation from the armed forces and his bid for presidency in the same address on state television last month became the first presidential hopeful to submit his official documents for candidacy Monday.
Abu Shoqqa displayed different criteria adopted while submitting the signatures of support. He said the campaign decided to submit only 190,000 signatures out of the 500,000 it had collected because it wishes to refrain from “showing off” and prefers modesty. He described the number of signatures collected by Al-Sisi’s campaign as “unprecedented”.
“It would have taken two days to submit all 500,000 signatures,” Abu Shoqqa said.
He added that the campaign only submitted electronic signatures to facilitate the mission of the SEC when counting the signatures. The campaign submitted signatures from each governorate proportionate to the latter’s voting population, Abu Shoqqa said.
“We have submitted signatures from all governorates,” Abu Shoqqa said. “This reflects Al-Sisi’s wide popularity.”
The deadline to submit signatures of support is 20 April. Other hopefuls in the race include Nasserist politician Hamdeen Sabahy, lawyer and President of Al-Zamalek Sporting Club Mortada Mansour, and news anchor and activist Bothaina Kamel.
Al-Sisi has enjoyed support by a large segment of the population and political groups. Al-Wafd Party, which announced its support for Al-Sisi, gave the former field marshal’s campaign its party offices to use to collect signatures.
The first round of presidential elections is scheduled to take place on 26 and 27 May. A second round, if necessary, would take place on 16 and 17 June. The presidential elections law stipulates that the Presidential Elections Commission must announce the names of the candidates within two days of the closing date for nominations. If necessary, they will also detail those who applied who have been disqualified.
Presidential candidates must be at least 40 years old on the day the door for candidates opens and have never held the citizenship of another country. Candidates also must have either served their compulsory military service or have been legally exempted.