Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi
President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi Source: Kremlin

Egypt will hold a presidential election this spring, but leading politicians and activists are calling on citizens to boycott the polls.

Scheduled to take place on March 26 to 28, the election will see incumbent President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi face off against supporter-turned-challenger Mousa Mostafa Mousa.

However, several other prominent Egyptian politicians and activists had previously announced their intentions to run, only to face intimidation, arrest, or threats. 

Here's a closer look at what you should know about the upcoming election.

Opposition figures are calling the election "absurd"

"Absurdity bordering on madness," is the way opposition figures are referring to the upcoming election.

A joint statement by eight Egyptian opposition parties was signed by more than 150 pro-democracy public figures, asking citizens to avoid the polls. In the statement, the opposition accused Sisi and his supporters of preventing "any fair competition."

"It is not right for us to surrender to what has become an absurdity bordering on madness," said Abdel-Geleel Mustafa, a leading opposition figure, according to Al Jazeera.

Hamdeen Sabahi, Sisi's former rival in the 2014 election, launched the campaign with the slogan "Stay at home," calling on political parties to unite against the president's "brutal tyranny of power."

Who attempted to challenge Sisi's rule?

A few opposition figures have attempted to challenge Sisi, but all have been forced out of the election.

Ahmed Shafik, former prime minister, withdrew his presidential bid after announcing his intention to run in early January. He claimed he would "not be the ideal person to lead the state."

However, his lawyer said he had been threatened with an investigation into former charges of corruption if he did not withdraw his bid, according to The New York Times.

Sami Anan, a former general, also planned to run against Sisi but was arrested at gunpoint this week by Egyptian security forces. His arrest came after his vice-presidential candidate, Hisham Genena, was attacked and injured on a busy Cairo street over the weekend.

Ahmed Konsowa, an army colonel, was slapped down a six-year prison sentence in December after announcing his candidacy. Similarly, human rights lawyer Khaled Ali withdrew his bid after getting a three-month prison sentence.

Sisi has issued a warning to those threatening a boycott

In response to the calls for boycott, Sisi has issued a strong warning to the opposition.

"Be warned. What happened seven or eight years ago, will not happen again in Egypt,” the president said, according to Reuters, referencing mass protests that took place in 2011, unseating long-term ruler Hosni Mubarak, 

“What didn’t work then, will not work now. No ... it looks like you don’t know me well," he said.

"Listen, whoever wants to mess with Egypt and ruin it, has to do away with me first."

Many Egyptians are mocking the election on social media

And asking valid questions ...

"An innocent question: How was the 'extra' Mousa Mostafa Mousa able to get more than 47,000 signatures in 10 days, as he said, without appearing on the candidates' database?"