Agence France-Presse

A top politician says that a former Egyptian army chief of staff will contest the upcoming presidential elections in March, as other candidates have faced heavy pressure to drop out.

Ragab Helal Hemida, the head of the policies committee in the Egypt Arabist Democratic party, told The Associated Press on Friday that Lt. Gen. Sami Annan has accepted the candidacy nomination by his party.

He said that Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi’s popularity taken a blow after painful austerity measures saw a large sector of Egyptians falling into poverty or economic hardship.

“The bet is on the people who are suffering,” and securing their votes, he said.

Al-Sisi’s re-election appears to be a forgone conclusion as other candidates have faced immense pressure to drop out.

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