CAIRO, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) -- The Cairo-based Arab League (AL) announced on Saturday its participation in Egypt's upcoming presidential elections slated for March.
"This participation comes in the light of the AL massive interest in such an election that is an important step in enhancing the course of democracy and good governance in Egypt," the pan-Arab body said in a statement.
AL Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit assigned one of his aides to lead a mission of different Arab diplomats who will be distributed in different Egyptian provinces to oversee the polls, according to the statement.
It added that an operation room will be constantly operating during the elections to follow up all relevant developments, communicate with the mission members in different provinces and receive their notes.
Egypt will hold its 2018 presidential polls in late March. After a 10-day candidate registration period starting on Saturday, the candidates will start their campaigns on Feb. 24.
The result of the first round is set to be announced on April 2, according to the country's National Election Authority.
A day earlier, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi officially announced his intention to run for a second four-year presidential term, also the last one for Sisi if he wins according to the Egyptian constitution.
Sisi said earlier that he would not seek to change this part of the constitution.
Hours after Sisi's announcement, former military chief of staff Sami Anan also declared his intention to join the 2018 presidential race, blaming Egypt's ongoing problems on "wrong policies" and calling on the country's institutions not to take sides in favor of any candidate.
Anan is considered a strong competitor against Sisi in the race.
Last December, a pro-Sisi non-official campaign called "So That You Can Build It (Egypt)" said it collected over 12 million signatures from Egyptians, more than 11 percent of the population, who support Sisi's campaign for a second term.
Sisi took office in mid-2014, a year after he led the ouster of his Islamist predecessor Mohamed Morsi in July 2013 in response to mass protests against Morsi's one-year rule and his now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group.
Egyptian rights and opposition lawyer Khaled Ali announced last November his intention to join the presidential race. But Ali could be disqualified as he received a suspended three-month jail term in September over an obscene hand gesture he allegedly made after winning a court order challenging the government.