The Road to Presidential Elections

With Egypt’s second presidential elections in two years expected to take place within as many months, the electoral law, possible candidates, and the final results, have been mired in controversy. Keeping tabs on the process, EgyptSource will be providing periodic updates on the latest news coming out of the Egyptian elections process. 


Egypt’s Presidential Elections Commission (PEC) issued on March 17 regulations for the upcoming presidential elections, based on a 60-article law that continues to be a point of controversy.

pdfRead the original Arabic text of the law here

What are the regulations for candidates according to the law?

  • Presidential hopefuls should be able to apply to the PEC over a period of ten to thirty days.
  • Presidential hopefuls will have completed their military service or have been exempted.
  • The candidate and his/her parents and spouse must be Egyptian citizens. Dual citizenship is not permitted.
  • Candidates must obtain 25,000 signatures from citizens in at least 15 of Egypt’s 27 governorates, with at least 1,000 names in each.
  • Candidates must be at least 40 years old.
  • Candidates can spend a maximum of 20 million Egyptian pounds (approximately $2,870,000) in the first round of campaigning. Candidates can spend a maximum of 5 million pounds in the run offs. (Candidates in the 2012 presidential elections could spend a maximum of 10 million EGP in the first round and 5 million in the run offs.)
  • Candidates must have a university degree.
  • Candidates must not have been convicted of a felony.
  • Candidates must not have a mental or physical illness that will affect his/her performance as president..(A medical report on candidates mental and physical health must be issued by the health ministry’s special medical committees.)
  • Candidates are legally able to exercise civil and political rights

Controversy Surrounding the Law

Controversy over the law centers around Article 7, which makes any decisions made by the PEC immune to appeals. According to the Turkish Anadalou Agency, Hamdeen Sabbahi, who came third in the 2012 presidential elections and remains the only candidate to publicly announce his intent to run in the 2014 elections, has said he plans to file a lawsuit challenging the law due to Article 7. Former presidential candidate Khaled Ali, who came in 12th in Egypt’s 2012 presidential elections, also lashed out at Article 7, saying that it violates Article 97 of the 2014 constitution, which prevents the immunization of administrative decisions from judicial oversight.

Ali also criticized the article requiring candidates to have a university degree. He was also critical of Article 18, which gives candidates only 30 days to campaign.

On March 20, five Egyptian non-Islamist political parties – the leftist Egyptian Popular Current, the liberal Constitution Party, the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, the Nasserist Al-Karama Party and the Socialist Popular Alliance Party – have called on interim President Adly Mansour to amend Article 7, offering alternative solutions.  

Mansour has defended the lack of appeals by saying that they could delay the elections process by up to five months, while Amr Moussa, who headed the constituent assembly tasked with drafting the 2014 constitution, said that Article 7 does not violate the constitution.


To date, only one presidential candidate has formally announced his intention to run. If only one candidate runs uncontested in the elections, he/she must secure at least 5 percent of the total number of registered votes.

Hamdeen Sabbahi: Sabbahi, despite being critical of the election law, has announced his intention to run in the upcoming elections. He has also expressed his desire that Sisi not run in the presidential elections, saying that this will “put the army at risk.” He has also said that if Sisi does run, he would call for a public debate between the candidates. While Sabbahi has expressed doubt over the integrity and fairness of the elections, he has shown no signs of backing out of the race.

Sabbahi’s announcement led to a split within Tamarod, the movement which spearheaded a petition calling for Mohamed Morsi’s removal. In addition to gaining the support of some leading members of Tamarod, viewed as the “revolutionary candidate,” Sabbahi also enjoys the support of his own group, the Popular Current, as well as the Revolutionary Youth Coalition.

Sabbahi’s Official Announcement  

Abdel Fattah al-Sisi: Speculation over Sisi’s nomination has been ongoing for months. While Sisi has made no definitive statements on his possible nomination, he has hinted at the move, saying that “any person who loves Egypt and the Egyptians cannot turn his back to his people if he felt a genuine desire on the part of a large number of people to call on him to undertake a national assignment.” Military spokesman Ahmed Ali said on March 19 that Sisi’s supporters in Beni Suef and Gharbiya were illegally collecting financial donations for his presidential campaign. Ali said in his statement that Sisi’s decision to run is a personal one, and that the armed forces is not involved in the decision making process. However in late January, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces issued a statement, “authorizing” Sisi to run for president.

Another major development which is seen as another step leading Egypt closer to Sisi’s presidential bid, was a series of changes he made within the army’s top echelon, approving several new appointments in preparation for his resignation. However, Egypt has witnessed several false starts, most notably when former prime minister Hazem El-Beblawy’s cabinet resigned, which was interpreted as paving the way for Sisi to announce his presidential bid.

Withdrawn Candidates

Sami Anan, former Chief of Staff under Mubarak and the SCAF-led transition, announced his decision to withdraw from the presidential race following an alleged attempt on his life. While Anan said he survived an assassination attempt, the Ministry of Interior has challenged his story. In deciding not to run for president, Anan said, “I do not want to be part of a conspiracy to harm the Armed Forces.”

Anan’s Official Announcement


Khaled Ali, in a fiery speech, announced that he is not withdrawing his candidacy, but rather than he refuses to take part in what he described a “farce.” During his speech he lashed out at the presidential elections law, the protest law, as well as the army’s involvement in politics.

Ali’s Official Announcement

Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh was among the first former presidential candidates to announce he will not take part in the 2014 elections.The former Muslim Brotherhood member who came in fourthin the 2012 elections, said “I will not run for president … I’m never hesitant about running for elections so long as they are real elections.” Aboul Fotouh called the fairness of the upcoming elections into question, saying “I won’t take part in deceiving people into believing we have a democratic path when we don’t.”


Egypt is expected to hold presidential elections by July 17. According to Article 18, candidates have up to thirty days for their campaigning period.

According to Egypt Independent, anonymous judicial sources have said that the elections will like take place over a period of two days. The High Presidential Elections Commission is meeting on Saturday to discuss the electoral timetable. They were scheduled to meet on March 19 to to discuss the schedule for the presidential elections, but postponed it to March 22 due to security concerns.

According to Article 55 of the election law, the results are to be announced within five days after all results from polling stations are delivered to the PEC.


After Ali announced his decision not to participate in the presidential elections, Hamza Zoubaa, an official spokesperson for the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, said the announcement is “evidence of manipulation of the official results of the elections,” as well as a means of filtering candidates to “make way for the Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.”


While polls prior to the 2012 presidential elections proved inaccurate, a recent survey conducted by Egyptian polling center, Baseera, shows that 51 percent of respondents are willing to vote for Sisi. More significantly, however, 45 percent remain undecided as to who they will vote for. Only 1 percent said they were willing to vote for Sabbahi, the only candidate to formally announce his bid.

On the issue of turnout, which has been in constant decline since the 2012 presidential elections, 82.5 percent said they were willing to vote in the upcoming elections, 11.8 percent said they would not, while only 5.7 percent said they were undecided.

Image: Photo: Ahmed Abdel-Fatah