Egypt announces list of presidential candidates


Waving the national flag, thousands of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist movement supporters take part in a demonstration in the capital's landmark Tahrir Square in Cairo on April 13, 2012 under the slogan 'protect the revolution,' demanding that former regime members be barred from public office.


Khaled Desouki

Egypt’s election committee has published the final list of those allowed to contest the first presidential elections in the country since long-time President Hosni Mubarak was ousted last year.

The document lists the names of 13 candidates out of an initial 23 who had applied to stand in the election, the first round of which is to be held on May 23-24.

Controversially, it includes former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq, who was in office for 57 days in the final turbulent stretch of Mubarak’s rule, Sky News reports.

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Shafiq was disqualified from competing on Tuesday, but readmitted the following day. Egypt’s military has promised that the elections will be free and fair, and has pledged to hand over power to the winner by July 1.

If no candidate secures more than half the votes in the first round, a run-off between the top two will take place in June.

Other prominent candidates include Amr Mussa, a former foreign minister and Arab League chief, the independent Islamist Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, and Mohammed Mursi, the chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), who filled in for the group’s excluded first choice, the Agence France Presse reports.

According to the Associated Press, none of the front-runners in the race represent the mainly liberal and secular youth who drove the uprising that deposed the Mubarak in February 2011.

The contest has reportedly been a source of confusion for many Egyptians, and deepened the sense of political uncertainty that has to date defined the post-Mubarak era.

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Announcing the list Thursday, Farkouk Sultan, head of the Higher Presidential Election Comission, said the body had decided to accept Shafiq’s appeal against his disqualification.

According to the BBC, Shafiq’s candidacy had initially been judged to infringe a law passed by Egypt’s Islamist-dominated parliament banning officials who had served under Mubarak from standing.

In his appeal, Shafiq had argued that the law, which was ratified earlier this week by the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), was unconstitutional. The matter has now been referred to Egypt’s constitutional court. 

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