An Egyptian politician emerged just ahead of a deadline on Monday as the sole challenger to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in a March election the incumbent appears set to win after other candidates withdrew citing repression. Mousa Mostafa Mousa leads the Ghad party, which had endorsed Sisi for a second term and even organized events to help nominate the former military commander as recently as last week. Mousa said he would mount a full challenge to Sisi, though opposition activists, journalists, and analysts took to Twitter to dismiss him as a dummy candidate, standing only to give the impression of a full democratic contest. “This is all theater,” said a shopkeeper outside the Ghad party headquarters in downtown Cairo.
Sisi was elected in 2014, a year after leading the army to oust President Mohamed Mursi, an Islamist. It is the third election since protests in 2011 unseated long-time ruler Hosni Mubarak.
Several leading opposition figures have called for a boycott of the election, slated for March 26-28, saying repression had cleared the field of challengers and left Sisi’s top opponent in jail.