CAIRO,The Cairo-based Arab League (AL), announced, on Saturday, its participation in Egypt's upcoming presidential elections, slated for Mar.

"This participation comes, in light of the AL massive interest in such an election, that is an important step in enhancing the course of democracy and good governance in Egypt," the pan-Arab body said, in a statement.

AL Secretary-General, Ahmed Aboul-Gheit, assigned one of his aides to lead a mission of different Arab diplomats, who will be distributed in different Egyptian provinces, to oversee the polls.

It added that, an operation room will be constantly operating during the elections, to follow up all relevant developments, communicate with the mission members, in different provinces and receive their notes.

Egypt will hold its 2018 presidential polls in late Mar.

After a 10-day candidate registration period, the candidates will start their campaigns on Feb 24.

The result of the first round is set to be announced on Apr 2, according to the National Election Authority.

A day earlier, Egyptian President, Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, officially announced his intention to run for a second four-year presidential term, also the last one for Sisi, if he wins, according to the Egyptian constitution.

Hours after Sisi's announcement, former military chief of staff, Sami Anan, also declared his intention to join the 2018 presidential race, blaming Egypt's ongoing problems on "wrong policies" and calling on the country's institutions not to take sides in favour of any candidate.

Last Dec, a pro-Sisi non-official campaign called "So That You Can Build It (Egypt)" said, it collected over 12 million signatures from Egyptians, more than 11 percent of the population, who support Sisi's campaign.

Sisi took office in mid-2014, a year after he led the ouster of his Islamist predecessor, Mohamed Morsi, in 2013, in response to mass protests against Morsi's one-year rule, and his now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group.

Egyptian rights and opposition lawyer, Khaled Ali, announced last Nov, his intention to join the presidential race. But Ali could be disqualified, as he received a suspended three-month jail term in Sept, over an obscene hand gesture he allegedly made, after winning a court order challenging the government.


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