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New turmoil in Egypt in the run-up to elections

Tue 17 Apr 2012 New turmoil in Egypt in the run-up to elections

On Saturday the 14th of April, ten presidential candidates were barred from the elections in Egypt of which the first round is to be held on May the 23rd. Three of them - Khairat al-Shater of the Muslim Brotherhood, Omar Suleiman, the former intelligence chief and Hazem Abu Ismail, the ultra-conservative Salafi candidate -  have now decided to appeal this decision of the election commission. On Tuesday the commission will decide which of these appeals will be reviewed.

However, the argumentation for exclusion is based on legal grounds, which are difficult to challenge. Furthermore, Heba Morayef, an Egypt researcher for Human Rights Watch stated that “this is good news for human rights” and the Egyptian people, considering the former position of Suleiman within the deposed regime of Mubarak.

The nomination of Khairat al-Shater as presidential candidate for the Muslim Brotherhood, already encountered resistance earlier. The Muslim Brotherhood has been opposing themselves to a great deal of other parties and organisations. Nevertheless, they still have a chance of winning the elections with backup candidate Mohammed Mursi. Since Al-Shater was released from jail following an amnesty only March last year, his candidacy is allegedly conflicting with the rule that candidates can only run in elections six years after being released or pardoned.

The candidacy of Suleiman, who was Mubarak's feared head of intelligence for two decades, was not less controversial. He was barred  because of a problem with collecting voter endorsements in a legally required minimum of 15 provinces.

Abu Ismail, a lawyer-turned-preacher, was reportedly disqualified from running because his late mother allegedly held dual American-Egyptian citizenship. As he is the only Salafist qualified for competing during the elections, his disqualification is problematic for this part of the Egyptian population.

On April 26th, a definite list with the candidates will be presented by the election commission. Now, only 13 of the initial 23 candidates remain in the running up for presidency.

- The Washington Post
- Al Jazeera
- Guide to Egypt’s transition

Flickr by Ahmed Abd El-Fatah

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