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Controversial lawyer enters Egypt vote race

07 April 2014, 12:22

Cairo - A controversial lawyer and critic of activists who spearheaded Egypt's 2011 uprising announced Sunday he will run for president, in an election expected to be won by the ex-army chief.

Mortada Mansour, who was elected last week as head of Cairo's Zamalek football club, said he was in favour of a "strong state" to enforce the rule of law.

Ex-army chief Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi is widely expected to win the 26-27 May presidential election, riding a wave of popularity after ousting Islamist president Mohamed Morsi last July.

"My programme in brief is [to make] Egypt strong and recover its prestige and status in the world," Mansour, wearing a dark business suit and sunglasses, told a press conference.

He called for a moratorium on "protests, sit-ins and strikes for a whole year until the country is back on its feet", economically and politically.

He also lashed out at interim president Adly Mansour for having failed to restore security.

"You [Mansour] are fast asleep, while young people, police and troops are dying each day and the country is covered in blood," said Mansour, who is also a former judge and MP.

Deadly government crackdown

Militants have stepped up attacks on security forces since Morsi's overthrow, killing scores of policemen and soldiers in retaliation for a deadly government crackdown on his supporters.

More than 1 400 people, mostly Islamists, have been killed in the crackdown, while thousands are behind bars, according to Amnesty international.

Mansour said he tried to run in the 2012 presidential election won by Morsi, but his candidacy was rejected by the electoral committee for unknown reasons.

In October 2012, Mansour was among 24 people acquitted of organising the infamous "battle of the camel", a camel-borne assault on protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square during the 2011 revolt which ousted Hosni Mubarak.

Leftist leader Hamdeen Sabahi has also announced his candidacy for next month's presidential election.



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