Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has announced that he will run for a second term as Egypt's president in March.
The former general won a landslide victory in 2014, after leading the army's overthrow of elected president Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood.
He is widely expected to win this time round, too.
In a speech broadcast live on state television on Friday, Sisi assured voters that they would choose their next leader of their own free will, pledging the election will be "a model of freedom and transparency" and that it will be "characterisesd by equal opportunities between candidates".
Rights groups though say Sisi has led an unprecedented crackdown on political opponents, activists and critical media.
One high-profile challenger is human rights lawyer Khaled Ali.
But he has been sentenced to jail over an allegedly rude hand gesture made outside a courthouse. If that verdict is upheld on appeal he will be disqualified from the race.
Egypt continues to face major security challenges from Islamist militants including attacks on the country's large Christian minority.
Sisi's supporters say his hardline approach is needed to keep the country stable.