Mansour quits Egypt presidency after ‘holy’ sign

Murtada Mansour, a controversial lawyer, rules out entering leadership race after a dream

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Murtada Mansour, a lawyer who was expected to be Egypt’s third presidential candidate, announced on Saturday that he would not run in the upcoming elections but would rather see former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi win the race.

Murtada, who is also head of the Zamalek football club, declared his candidacy less than a week ago, but said in a press conference that he had received a “sign from God” that Sisi would win the race.

He said he saw two men donning military uniforms in a vision, indicating that Sisi, who is already riding a wave of popularity in the country, is going to be the country’s new president.

The men in the dream told him, “We are going to new Egypt,” he said, adding his support to the former army figure.

In order to officially enter the presidential race, candidates need to get endorsements of at least 25,000 signatures.

Mansour claimed that his decision to withdraw comes despite having collected 20,000 signatures.

The lawyer is one of 24 officials from ousted President Hosni Mubarak era, who were accused of violence against protesters in the iconic Tahrir Square in Feb. 2, 2011.

He was acquitted along with the other officials in 2012 on charges of inciting the violence.

After Mansour, it is only the leftist Hamdeen Sabbahi who will be contesting Sisi’s popularity.

On Saturday, Sabbahi officially submitted his bid for next month’s presidential election.

Sabbahi submitted the documents required to run for presidency in the May 26-27 election. Last week, the leftist politician had gathered 31,100 endorsements from 17 provinces, according to his campaign team.

After submitting his candidacy to the electoral commission, he told his supporters: “With God’s will, we will wage a great and victorious battle.”

But he is expected to face a tough battle against Sisi who had gathered 200,000 endorsements before officially submitting his bid for presidency on Monday. Sisi’s popularity surged after ousting Islamist president Mohammad Mursi last July amid massive street protests, and he is widely expected to win the race.

Sabbahi’s registration comes a day before the expected end of the registration period set by the electoral commission.

Sabbahi was accompanied by scores of supporters, who cheered their candidate and chanted: “Sabbahi is the symbol of freedom!”

(With AFP)

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