ATFIH, Egypt – Businessmen loyal to Egypt's president are handing out cash and food to poor voters as they try to gather tens of thousands of signatures to support his bid for re-election in March.
President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi is virtually assured of winning a second four-year term. Nearly all prominent critics have been jailed, left the country or gone silent. Three presidential hopefuls, including a former prime minister who could have lit up the race and a human rights lawyer, have withdrawn. A retired general has been arrested.
That has raised the distinct possibility that the March 26-28 election will effectively be a single-candidate referendum, similar to those held by autocratic leaders in the decades before the 2011 uprising.