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Egypt Bars 10 Presidential Hopefuls From Running For Election
2012-04-15 15:12:39 (189 weeks ago)
Posted By: Intellpuke
Egypt's election commission disqualified 10 presidential hopefuls, including the country's ex-spy chief and key Islamists, from running in a surprise decision that threatened to upend the already tumultuous race.

Farouk Sultan, the head of the election commission, said that those barred from the race included Hosni Mubarak's former spy chief Omar Suleiman, Muslim Brotherhood chief strategist Khairat el-Shater and hardline lawyer-turned-preacher Hazem Abu Ismail. No reason was given.

The announcement came as a shock to many Egyptians as three of the 10 excluded were considered among the front-runners. They now have 48 hours to appeal against the decision, according to election rules. The final list of candidates will be announced on 26 April.

Thirteen others had their candidacy approved, including former Arab League chief Amr Moussa, moderate Islamist Abdel-Moneim Abolfotoh and former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq, according to Sultan.

The struggle for power more than a year after Mubarak was ousted in a popular uprising has heated up with the approach of next month's presidential vote. The race has shaped up as a contest between the newly ascendant Muslim Brotherhood and members of Mubarak's former inner circle.

(story continues below)

The Muslim Brotherhood along with hardline ultraconservative Salafis have captured more than 70 percent of the seats in parliament in the first post-revolution elections.

Liberal and secular revolutionaries who spearheaded the mass protests that led to Mubarak's ousting have largely been sidelined.

The presidential election is due on May 23-24, with a possible run-off on June 16-17. The winner will be announced on June 21, less than two weeks before the July 1 deadline promised by the military rulers who took over after Mubarak to hand over power.

Many observers had been looking to Saturday's announcement for a decision about whether Abu Ismail, a heavyweight candidate with the support of ultraconservative Salafis, would be disqualified over the question of whether his late mother had dual Egyptian-U.S. citizenship. A new election law bars an individual from running if the candidate, the candidate's spouse or parents hold any citizenship other than Egyptian.

Saturday's announcement also came a day after more than 10,000 Egyptians marched from mosques and protested in Cairo's Tahrir Square in a show of strength by Islamists demanding that Suleiman and other ousted regime officials be barred from running.

Suleiman, formerly one of the most powerful members of Mubarak's inner circle as a former intelligence chief and vice president, said that he had entered the race to prevent Islamist rule.

Intellpuke: You can read this Associated Press article in context here:

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