CAIRO — The Latest on the situation in Egypt ahead of the March presidential elections (all times local):

7:10 p.m.

Egyptian presidential hopeful and rights lawyer Khaled Ali says he is withdrawing from the race.

Ali spoke on Wednesday at a news conference held at his campaign’s headquarters in downtown Cairo.

He cited a “climate” not conducive to campaigning and claimed that “many” of his campaign workers have been detained. He also blamed security agencies for harassing supporters seeking to obtain “recommendations” for his nomination at notary offices across the country.

Ali was the only serious would-be candidate to challenge President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. But his candidacy was also at risk because he was convicted in September of making an obscene hand gesture in public.

If that ruling was to be upheld on appeal, he would have been ineligible to run.

Two other presidential hopefuls have also withdrawn.


12:40 p.m.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has submitted his nomination documents to Egypt’s election commission, a day after a potentially serious challenger was arrested over criminal allegations.

El-Sissi did not submit the documents in person, leaving a representative to do that Wednesday.

Images released by his office showed workers taking out of the back of a van boxes bearing the president’s image and the phrase “long live Egypt!” el-Sissi’s trademark slogan.

The boxes contained “recommendations” from voters who want el-Sissi to run for a second, four-year term in the March 26-28 vote. Under the constitution, would-be candidates must obtain 25,000 recommendations from voters or secure the support of 20 elected lawmakers to qualify to run.

The military Tuesday arrested former chief of staff Sami Annan over allegations of forgery and breaching military rules.