Campaigning has drawn to a close ahead of Egypt’s first multi-candidate presidential election. On paper, the poll pits ten rivals against each other. In reality, most Egyptians have little doubt over who is going to win on Wednesday.
In power since 1981, Hosni Mubarak is widely expected to secure another six-year term. He has pledged to keep the country at peace and lead it to a new era of democracy and prosperity. In February, the 77-year-old leader proposed holding a contested ballot. Previously, parliament nominated a single candidate for approval in a referendum. Most of his challengers are little-known politicians from minor parties. One of his most prominent opponents is Ayman Nour who was detained until March on what he says are fabricated charges that he used forged documents to set up his party. His trial resumes later this month. The other key contender is Numan Gumaa, a former Cairo University law professor whose campaign slogan is “We have had enough.” While the result is seen as a foregone conclusion for many, there is a big question mark over participation in the poll. There have been calls for a boycott amid protests at the election rules. The absence of international monitors has also been highlighted.