Egypt's military arrests presidential hopeful

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A 10-day candidate registration has started on January 20, while electoral campaigns will kick off on February 24 and the result of the first round will be announced on April 2.

Anan is to be investigated for allegedly violating army regulations by declaring his intention to run in the elections, a televised statement released by the army on Tuesday said.

On Tuesday evening, Egypt's military prosecutor Mohamed al-Roweiny announced that media coverage on the investigation into the case of Sami Anan's presidential bid and military status has been banned.

Now Mr. Mubarak is in peaceful retirement, having been released from custody past year, while numerous revolutionaries who helped topple him are in Mr. Sisi's jails, their hopes for democracy apparently dashed for now.

Sisi was elected president in 2014, a year after leading the military ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi when he was himself commander in chief.

A senior worker at the campaign of Egyptian presidential hopeful Khaled Ali says they are holding an emergency meeting to assess their position following the arrest of another hopeful, former military chief of staff Sami Annan. The arrest was also confirmed by two of Annan's aides, Mustapha al-Shall to the AP and Mahmoud Refaat on Twitter.

The Armed Forces said Anan's announcement "constituted clear incitement against the armed forces with the intention of driving a wedge between it and the great Egyptian people".

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Ahead of the vote, the overwhelmingly pro-el-Sissi media have been building a personality cult portraying him as the only man qualified to lead, while denouncing each potential challenger.

The arrest all but ended the presidential ambitions of the ex-general, who became the latest in a series of potential contenders who have dropped out or been driven from the presidential campaign. After announcing his candidacy from self-imposed exile in the United Arab Emirate, the former Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik was returned to Cairo by Emirati authorities.

President Sisi also placed a wreath of flowers in front of the monument that commemorates police martyrs and honored their families along with security chiefs.

Ali said he had aborted his campaign because of overwhelming obstacles that had prevented him from even getting on the ballot, and accused the elections committee of "violations". His candidacy also could have drawn a sizable protest vote from Egyptians struggling under high prices resulting from el-Sissi's ambitious reform program to overhaul the battered economy.

Ali, a prominent socialist, had entered the race as a symbol of Egypt's leftist revolutionary politics, but on Wednesday he told a press conference packed with supporters that "the opportunity for hope in this presidential election has gone".

Ali could be disqualified as he had received a suspended three-month jail term last September over an obscene hand gesture he reportedly made after winning a court order challenging the government.