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How Egypt's government is responding to calls for election boycott

Opposition groups are calling for a boycott of the March presidential elections after all would-be contenders were either jailed, prosecuted or intimidated out of the race.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi speaks during the closing session of "Tale of a Homeland" conference and announces intention to run for a second term in Cairo, Egypt, January 19, 2018 in this handout picture courtesy of the Egyptian Presidency. The Egyptian Presidency/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY - RC1C80360640

Egyptians will head to the polls March 26-28 to cast their votes in a presidential election that critics in and outside of Egypt have branded a "sham." Political analysts say the election is a mere formality, since President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is guaranteed a second term in office after eliminating would-be rival candidates from the race.

In recent weeks, all serious candidates have either been arrested, prosecuted or intimidated out of the race, leaving Sisi to face a sole “challenger,” who ironically is a staunch Sisi supporter. Moussa Mustafa Moussa, the rival contender in question, is a little-known politician who heads the centrist Al Ghad Party. Moussa’s 11th-hour participation in the race is widely perceived as a face-saving effort to legitimize the election and spare Sisi the embarrassment of a one-candidate referendum.

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