Egypt opposition coalition calls for boycott of March vote

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Egypt opposition coalition calls for boycott of March vote
A supporter holds a poster showing President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi in front of the National Elections Authority in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, Jan. 29, 2018. El-Sissi is virtually certain of winning a second, four-year term in the March 26-28 vote. But after a string of would-be challengers were arrested, forced out or quit the race, the prospect of a one-candidate election has proven embarrassing for the government. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

CAIRO (AP) — A coalition of eight Egyptian opposition parties and some 150 pro-democracy public figures are calling on voters to boycott the March presidential election, saying it amounts to a “farce” or “absurdity bordering on madness.”

The incumbent, general-turned-president Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, is virtually certain to win the March 26-28 vote, sweeping aside a face-saving would-be candidate whose last-minute participation spared the government the embarrassment of a one-candidate election.

Tuesday’s call for a boycott by the Civilian Democratic Movement comes just days after five opposition figures, including a 2012 presidential candidate and two top campaign aides for now-arrested presidential hopeful Sami Annan, called for a boycott of the vote and on Egyptians not to recognize the vote’s outcome if it goes ahead.