Egypt’s election committee Tuesday upheld the ineligibility of all 10 candidates
– including three front-runners – it had disqualified this weekend from the
country’s long-awaited presidential race.
Among the contenders whose
appeals were rejected are ex-spy chief Omar Suleiman, the Muslim Brotherhood’s
Khairat al- Shater and the Salafi Islamist Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, the state-run
Al- Ahram newspaper reported.
The commission said Saturday it had
disqualified 10 of the 23 candidates who had applied to run in the election,
which starts in May and is the climax of the transition from military to
civilian rule. Those disqualified had 48 hours to appeal.
of deposed president Hosni Mubarak’s closest aides and his deputy in his last
days in power, had been ruled out because he had too few of the voter
endorsements that candidates are required to present. The former
intelligence chief was Mubarak’s go-to adviser on Israel, and widely viewed in
the Israeli establishment as the race’s most favorable candidate from
Shater had been disqualified because of a past
criminal conviction. Like many other Brotherhood leaders, Shater had spent time
behind bars for his association with a group that was officially outlawed under
the Mubarak administration.
Abu Ismail had been ruled out because his
mother held US citizenship, and election rules bar candidates and their families
from holding dual nationality.
The disqualifications leave three
presidential candidates as front-runners: former Mubarak foreign minister and
Arab League secretary Amr Moussa, the Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi and the
Islamist Abdel Moneim Abol Fotouh.
Moussa is a populist whose strident
nationalism – laced with anti-Western and anti- Israel rhetoric – make him
popular among average Egyptians despite his associations with the former
The Brotherhood announced Morsi, chairman of its Freedom and
Justice Party, as its “backup candidate” earlier this month after the election
committee first cited potential complications with Shater’s
application. On Tuesday, the Brotherhood confirmed Morsi would run as its
candidate once Shater’s ineligibility was definitively upheld.
Fotouh was expelled from the Brotherhood last year after defying its initial
orders to members not to run. The 84-year-old Islamist movement reversed that
decision last month after parliamentary elections gave it 50 percent of seats in
Egypt’s two chambers and 25% to even harder-line Salafis.Al-Ahram
reported that the committee also upheld its disqualification of Ayman Nour, a
relative liberal who came a distant second to Mubarak in the 2005 presidential
The election has a first round of voting on May 23 and 24, and is
expected to go to a run-off in June between the top two candidates. The
ruling military council is due to hand power to the new president on July
1.Reuters contributed to this report.