People walk in front of special forces soldier guarding the National Election Authority, which is in charge of supervising the 2018 presidential election in Cairo, Egypt, January 24, 2018 REUTERS
Egypt's National Elections Authority (NEA) announced on Friday that endorsements for potential candidates for the upcoming presidential elections have surpassed one million, NEA spokesman Mahmoud El-Sherif said in a statement.
Hopeful candidates must receive endorsements from a minimum of 20 MPs or 25,000 citizens from at least 15 governorates, with at least 1,000 endorsements from each governorate. The timetable set to collect endorsements has been set for 20 to 29 January.
The vote for president is set to take place on 26 to 28 March, with candidates required to submit all the necessary papers to the NEA between 20 and 29 January.
On Friday, chairman of the liberal Wafd Party El-Sayed El-Badawi underwent the medical examination required for hopeful candidates.
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has been the only candidate so far to submit the required endorsement forms and has undergone the required medical exam for candidacy.
The NEA is also set to start reviewing Saturday requests by NGOs to monitor the elections, with approvals to be issued starting from Monday until the start of February, according to El-Sherif.
Last Saturday, parliament's human rights committee said that it will be supervising the performance of NGOs and civil society organisations participating in monitoring the elections.
El-Sisi won the last presidential elections in 2014 with 96 percent of the vote, assuming office in June after defeating his sole competitor, leftist politician and leader of the Egyptian Popular Current Hamdeen Sabahi.
If no other candidate runs against El-Sisi, Article 36 of the law regulating the presidential elections says that a vote will still be held, requiring a ‘yes’ vote from only 5 percent of eligible voters. If the sole candidate fails to obtain the required number of votes, the NEA should set a new date for elections within 15 days of the announcement of poll results.
According to the constitution, the Egyptian president can serve for a maximum of two four-year terms.
The upcoming presidential elections are Egypt's third since the 25 January 2011 revolution.