Moussa hits campaign trail in Egypt presidency race

Arab League secretary-general is seen as the front-runner to replace Hosni Mubarak after July's elections.

By REUTERS
March 7, 2011 12:06
1 minute read.
Arab League Secretary-General Amir Moussa.

Amir Moussa 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)

CAIRO - Veteran diplomat Amr Moussa talked economics and social justice when he hit the campaign trail for the Egyptian presidency with a string of interviews that flagged him as the front runner for the job.

Arab League secretary-general for the last decade, Moussa, 74, is the most prominent figure yet to declare his candidacy for the position from which Hosni Mubarak was toppled on Feb. 11 after three decades in power.

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The military, which took power after Mubarak was ousted, plans to hold a parliamentary vote in June to be followed by a presidential election six weeks later.

In a country where years of oppression have crushed political life, Moussa's high profile, oratory skills and charisma have given him a natural head start.

An online poll on the Web site of al-Ahram newspaper on Thursday showed him with a big lead over Mohammed ElBaradei, the Nobel prize-winning former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

ElBaradei, a leading figure in the reform movement, has yet to say whether he will run on not. He is widely expected to.

"The Egyptian economy must move on two wheels: the free market and social justice," Moussa said in an interview with the Al Masry Al Youm newspaper, one of at least three he gave this week.

The economic policies of the last decade had resulted in "overwhelming poverty for the majority and obscene wealth for the minority", said Moussa, adding that growth had not benefited a large proportion of the population.


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