CAIRO, Dec. 24 (Xinhua) -- A campaign backing Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi said Sunday that it collected over 12 million signatures of Egyptians supporting him to run for a second term in the 2018 presidential elections.
"The campaign collected 12,132,640 valid signatures on an application that supports the candidacy of President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi for a new presidential term," said the campaign, known as "So You Can Build It (Egypt)," in a press conference attended by some parliament members.
The campaign vowed to gather more than 12.1 million signatures in the most populous Arab country only in a few months, as it started in September 2017 and managed to establish 168 headquarters in 27 provinces nationwide.
Mohamed al-Garhy, the campaign's chief coordinator and member of the Nation's Future Party, said that the main goal of the campaign is to "safeguard Egypt," stressing that Sisi managed to protect the country from the chaos and bloodshed witnessed in its fellow Arab states like Syria, Libya and Yemen.
Sisi was elected president in mid-2014, a year after he led the ouster of his Islamist predecessor Mohammed Morsi in July 2013 in response to mass protests against Morsi's one-year rule and his now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group.
The Egyptian president has yet to formally announce his candidacy in the 2018 elections, but he is widely expected to do so and to earn a landslide victory due to the absence of competitive challengers in the presidential bid.
Egyptian rights and opposition lawyer Khaled Ali announced last month his intention to join the 2018 presidential race.
There is a possibility for Ali's disqualification as he had received a suspended three-month jail term in September.
The lawyer was accused of reportedly making an obscene hand gesture challenging the government after winning a court order.
On the other hand, former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq, who fled Egypt after narrowly losing to Morsi in the 2012 elections, announced from the United Arab Emirates his intention to run for president. Shafiq came back to Egypt in early December and said he will reconsider his decision.