Arab League boss Moussa to run for Egypt president

Moussa enjoys wide popularity in Egypt, largely because of his scathing criticism of Israel, a country seen by most Egyptians as an enemy.

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
February 27, 2011 18:55
1 minute read.
Amr Moussa at World Economic Forum

Amr Moussa pensive (R) 311. (photo credit: Reuters)

CAIRO — Arab League chief Amr Moussa said he will run in this year's presidential elections in Egypt.

Moussa's comments Sunday came a day after a constitutional reform panel appointed by Egypt's military rulers recommended far-reaching reforms that relaxed eligibility rules for who qualifies to run for president.

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The changes, if adopted in a national referendum, would open Egypt's presidential elections to competition and impose a two-term limit on future presidents — a dramatic shift from a system that allowed ousted President Hosni Mubarak to rule for three decades.

Moussa enjoys wide popularity in Egypt, largely because of his scathing criticism of Israel, a country seen by most Egyptians as an enemy despite the 1979 peace treaty between the two neighbors.

Previously, Moussa was Egyptian foreign minister and before that a veteran diplomat for Cairo. Moussa is best known for his work as Egyptian ambassador to the UN in supporting president George H.W. Bush’s efforts in removing Saddam Hussein from Kuwait.

Unlike former International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei, Moussa has much better name recognition inside Egypt and enjoys a much better relationship with Mubarak.

Ironically, several months ago, local reports in Cairo stated that Moussa had spoken with Mubarak about a potential presidential candidacy in Egypt’s upcoming elections in September. The talks were considered “exploratory.”

Stewart Sogel contributed to this report


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