CAIRO, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- Egyptian presidential hopeful Khaled Ali announced Wednesday his withdrawal from the 2018 presidential elections "due to the lack of guarantees of fair electoral process."
"I announce that I'm not running for president in upcoming elections and I will not submit my nomination papers," Ali told a press conference in Cairo.
Ali, a prominent opposition politician and lawyer, announced in November last year his intention to join the presidential race.
"There is a deliberate intention to poison the presidential electoral process," he revealed.
Ali, who ran for president in 2012 elections won by former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, also criticized the arrest of members of his presidential campaign, accusing the regime of fabricating a case for him to assassinate him morally.
Last September, Ali had received a suspended three-month jail term over an obscene hand gesture he reportedly made after winning a court order challenging the government.
Egypt will hold its 2018 presidential race from March 26 to 28. A 10-day candidate registration has started on Jan. 20, while electoral campaigns will kick off on Feb. 24 and the result of the first round will be announced on April 2.
On Friday, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi announced that he will run for re-election in March's presidential elections.
Sisi submitted on Wednesday his nomination papers for re-election bid to be the first hopeful filing his documents to the Egyptian National Election Authority (NEA).
Ali's withdrawal came one day after the NEA excluded former military chief of staff Sami Anan, who announced running for president in upcoming polls, from the eligible voters' database, saying that his inclusion violates the law as the Egyptian constitution does not allow military men to join or vote in elections.
On Tuesday, the Egyptian army said in an official statement that it will interrogate Anan over violations he made by running for president without a prior approval from the armed forces.
According to the military regulations, Anan has to resign or get prior approval from the supreme council of the armed forces before running for president; otherwise he could be summoned for military service whenever necessary.
Veteran air forces commander and former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq, who fled Egypt after narrowly losing to Morsi in the 2012 elections, announced earlier in January his withdrawal from the presidential race after coming back to Egypt from the United Arab Emirates, where he spent the past five years.