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June 28, 2017

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Sisi the likely victor as Egypt presidential campaigns begin

CAIRO--Campaigning opened Saturday in Egypt for a presidential election likely to be won by the ex-army chief who deposed an elected Islamist leader, after deadly bombings underscored tensions gripping the country.

The May 26-27 presidential poll, meant to restore elected rule following the military overthrow of Mohammed Morsi last June, is widely expected to place former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in power.

His only rival, leftist Hamdeen Sabbahi, has emerged as an opposition figure claiming to represent the ideals of the 2011 uprising that overthrew veteran strongman Hosni Mubarak, as the interim government presses a widening crackdown on dissent.

Sisi, widely popular for ousting the divisive Morsi, is seen by supporters as a strong leader who can restore stability, but his opponents fear that might come at the cost of freedoms sought in the pro-democracy uprising three years ago.

"The policies that were present under Mubarak are the same policies present now" under the military-installed regime, Sabbahi told a campaign rally in the southern city of Assiut.

"Our goal is to gain the people's trust to change the policies of corruption and tyranny and poverty," he said in remarks

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