BREAKING: Khaled Ali withdraws from presidential race
Khaled Ali - YOUM7 (Archive)

CAIRO: Khaled Ali announced his withdrawal from the presidential race in a Sunday press conference, calling it a “farce.”

“It’s not acceptable for a Minister of Defense to run for the presidency,” he said, and called on military leaders to stay out of politics, and to “open the door for democracy.”

Ali, a labor rights lawyer, as well as a former presidential candidate in the 2012 elections, had never officially announced a presidential campaign, but had been active on the political scene in the past months, calling for minimum wage and social protections.

The law “prevents me from campaigning or raising funds before having collected the endorsements quota,” he said, adding “I‘m against the religious state, and also against the police state.”

Under the presidential elections law adopted on March 8, the final list of presidential candidates must be announced by the Supreme Presidential Electoral Committee. Ali said the law “prevented him from raising funds or campaigning,” due to an endorsement quota required by the committee to be considered an official candidate. Without campaigning, he said, it would be impossible to get the necessary endorsements.

Although he has not yet declared an official candidacy, Minister of Defense Abdel Fatah al-Sisi is widely expected to run for office. He is seen by many as the face of the events of June 30 which led to the ouster of Mohamed Morsi, and a number of campaigns have emerged to urge him to enter the race. Sisi himself has not said whether he wants to run, but has instead called on the public to demonstrate in order to give him a “mandate” to seek office.

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