Branding the poll a "charade", the coalition of eight parties and 150 public figures announced a campaign under the slogan "Stay at home" ahead of voting on March 26-28.

"No to participation in this charade," said Hamdeen Sabbahi, a presidential candidate in 2012 and 2014.

At a news conference by the coalition, founded in December and describing itself as a democratic civic movement, Sabbahi asked: "How can we speak of an election when there is no guarantee of a free vote?"

Sabbahi accused President Sisi's regime of having "led the country into a deadlock because of his arrogance and his desire to suppress any contrary opinion".

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Before becoming president in 2013, Sisi led the military in ousting the North African country's first freely elected leader, the Islamist Mohammed Morsi.

Ahead of the March election, all potential presidential contenders have either been hobbled or have thrown in the towel, claiming the entire process was rigged.

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