Egypt’s presidential election loses 3 polarizing figures


Former Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman enters the presidential election committee building in Cairo on April 7, 2012, to register his name for the May 23-24 elections. Suleiman, however, was banned from the race by the election commission.



Ten disqualified candidates for Egypt’s presidency have 48 hours to appeal the election commission’s decision, their only recourse after a surprise announcement made today, The Associated Press reported.

Among those disqualified are three polarizing figures: Omar Suleiman, Khairat el-Shater and Hazem Abu Ismail.

Suleiman is ousted president Hosni Mubarak’s former spy chief while Shater is a leading face of the Muslim Brotherhood and Ismail is a preacher and former lawyer, the AP said.

The election commission banned Shater because of a criminal conviction during Mubarak’s rule, The New York Times reported.

Ismail’s mother was born in the US therefore making him ineligible under Egyptian law, The Times said, while 8,000 of Suleiman’s required signatures lacked proper verification.

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Because the election appeared headed for a showdown between Mubarak’s old allies and Muslim hardliners, the decision appears to rule out the extreme candidates.

“It will be seen by many Egyptians as a compromise,” Diaa Rashwan, of the Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, told The Times.

The election is scheduled for May 23 and 24, with a potential runoff three weeks later and an official announcement on June 21, The Associated Press said.

Egypt’s interim military government pledged to relinquish power on July 1, the AP reported.

The Muslim Brotherhood – a powerful party that controls parliament – said it would appeal the election commission’s decision, Agence France-Presse said.

“This is a political decision,” lawyer Abdelmonein Abdel Maqsud said, according to AFP.

After Mubarak was forced to relinquish power, 23 candidates put their names forward.

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