Former Arab League chief Amr Moussa remains Egyptians’ preferred choice for
president, according to a poll published Monday in Al-Ahram newspaper, barely
edging a hard-line Islamist candidate whose candidacy may ultimately be
Nearly 31 percent of respondents said they would prefer to
see Moussa, who also served as foreign minister under deposed president Hosni
Mubarak, take the helm in Cairo.
Hazem Salah Abu Ismail – a Salafist
Islamist linked to the Muslim Brotherhood but running without party support –
came in second with just under 29%.
The poll was conducted before details
emerged that Abu Ismail’s mother held US citizenship, which could disqualify him
from running. Egyptian law forbids candidates or their families to hold dual
Former Brotherhood official Abdel Moneim Aboul-Fotouh came
in third with 8.5%.
Surprisingly, fewer than 2% of respondents identified
the Brotherhood’s main nominee, Khairat al-Shater, as their candidate of choice.
The low figure may partly be a function of timing – 8% of polling was conducted
before he announced his candidacy late last month.
candidate would also likely benefit from an annulment of Abu Ismail’s candidacy,
with many of the Salafist’s supporters transferring their support to him
Al Ahram Center for Political and Studies, a state-linked
research institute based in Cairo, conducted the poll. The results do not
include former Mubarak intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, who joined the
presidential race just before the close of registration Sunday.
also topped a survey that the US-based Gallup organization conducted in
December, in which 17% of respondents threw their support behind the former
foreign minister, followed by 3% for Suleiman.
Since then, parliamentary
voting resulted in around three-quarters of Egypt’s parliamentary seats going to
the Brotherhood and even harder-line Islamists.
The Al Ahram poll was
based on interviews with 1,200 people nationwide between March 31 and April 3,
and has a 4% margin of error.
Jerusalem Post staff and Bloomberg
contributed to this report.