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Author Topic: Egypt disqualifies 3 leading presidential candidates  (Read 899 times)
Tender Branson
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« on: April 15, 2012, 01:03:32 am »
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Egypt's presidential election commission removes 10 candidates from next month's ballot, including Mubarak-era spy chief Omar Suleiman and Islamists Khairat Shater and Hazem Salah abu Ismail.




By Jeffrey Fleishman, Los Angeles Times
April 14, 2012, 6:01 p.m.

CAIRO — Egypt's volatile presidential race was jolted Saturday when the election commission disqualified three controversial front-runners — the nation's former spy chief and two impassioned Islamists — just five weeks before voters go to the polls.

The commission removed Omar Suleiman, the intelligence director under deposed President Hosni Mubarak; Khairat Shater, a leading voice for the ascendant Muslim Brotherhood; and Hazem Salah abu Ismail, an ultraconservative Salafi Islamist with wide populist appeal. Seven other candidates were also expelled, and appeals were expected.

Ismail's followers — students, workers, engineers — are easily roused, and officials worried late Saturday that protesters would take to the streets. On Friday, thousands of Islamists had marched into Cairo's Tahrir Square to protest Suleiman's candidacy.

The commission's decision added fresh turmoil to an increasingly polarized political terrain. The move weakens, in the eyes of many Egyptians, two prominent threats to the country's emerging democracy: a potent remnant of the Mubarak era and the deepening power of Islamists who control parliament and want to expand the influence of Islamic law, known as sharia.

The Supreme Presidential Election Commission's verdicts are likely to bolster the candidacy of Amr Moussa, a former foreign minister and Arab League secretary-general who was topping the polls before the recent entries of Suleiman and Shater. Moussa served under Mubarak until 2001 and is not considered as closely connected to the toppled president as Suleiman.

Egypt has been on a discomfiting political ride since Mubarak's overthrow last year. Ruled by a council of generals, the country has veered from violence to uncertainty even as it lurches through political campaigns and promises of stability. The expulsion of the candidates again reveals the deep scars left by three decades of Mubarak's oppressive rule.

Suleiman, Shater and Ismail — the race's most dominant personalities — were all dogged by questions of legitimacy that became more pronounced as electoral oversight intensified in recent days.

Suleiman, who served erratically as vice president in the final days of Mubarak's government, kicked off his campaign one week ago. He reportedly had the backing of the military and was regarded by his supporters as the ideal foil to the political agenda of Islamists. But he lacked thousands of authenticated signatures to fulfill registration requirements.

Pressure on the former spy chief also tightened days ago when the Islamist-led parliament passed a law forbidding top officials from Mubarak's regime from running for office. The legislation must be ratified by the military, which appeared unlikely, but the generals may not have wanted to enter a protracted battle with parliament.

Shater, a onetime political prisoner, was a victim of the intelligence agencies Suleiman controlled. He ran his businesses from prison for years and was one of the Brotherhood's top financiers. He was freed last year and became the political touchstone of the world's largest Islamic organization. But his convictions on terrorism and money-laundering charges — even though politically motivated — rendered him ineligible.

"Suleiman's candidacy basically came as an answer to face the Brotherhood's candidacy of Shater," said Nabil Abdel Fattah, a political analyst. "Now both are out of the race and the rest of the candidates have relatively equal opportunities."

Murad Muhammed Ali, a campaign spokesman for Shater, told the news website Ahram Online: "We will not give up our right to enter the presidential race. There is an attempt by the old Mubarak regime to hijack the last stage of this transitional period and reproduce" the old system.

Ismail's candidacy was layered with its own intrigue. The campaign by the virulent anti-American preacher turned politician has been in trouble following revelations that his mother became a U.S. citizen before she died. Travel documents and California voter registration records confirmed she was issued an American passport.

Ismail won a partial victory last week when an administrative court ruled that it had no proof his mother held dual nationality. But the election commission had earlier stated that it had verified her U.S. citizenship, making him ineligible. The commission has final say on the status of presidential candidates.

"All the major candidates were excluded because of not fulfilling one or two of the legal conditions," said Amr Hashim Rabee, an analyst at Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo. "I wouldn't want to jump to any conclusions that they were axed for anything other than legal reasons."

The disqualifications of the leading contenders revive the chances of Moussa and others, including former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik. Anticipating Shater would be expelled from the race, the Brotherhood had entered a second candidate, Mohamed Morsi, head of its Freedom and Justice Party. The other notable Islamist is Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, a moderate and former Brotherhood member.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-egypt-candidates-20120415,0,7713837.story
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« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2012, 01:04:34 am »
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I thought they would at least allow Shater to participate in the election. He's kind of an Egyptian Mitt Romney. But don't care really about the other 2 who were banned.
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« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2012, 01:08:33 am »
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The guy in the middle has a great evil villain smirk.
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« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2012, 05:01:26 am »
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Safe Morsi. Unless the army still has the power to make election results, which seems a dubious proposition.

'twould have been nice to see Suleiman run just to see him get his ass kicked. Tongue
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« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2012, 05:05:08 am »
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Ismail won a partial victory last week when an administrative court ruled that it had no proof his mother held dual nationality. But the election commission had earlier stated that it had verified her U.S. citizenship, making him ineligible.

Egyptian birtherism.
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« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2012, 06:13:23 am »
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"Democracy".
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« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2012, 11:48:42 am »
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Ismail won a partial victory last week when an administrative court ruled that it had no proof his mother held dual nationality. But the election commission had earlier stated that it had verified her U.S. citizenship, making him ineligible.

Egyptian birtherism.


Except it actually is illegal in Egypt for a presidential candidate to have had a parent with non-Egyptian citizenship.

What was wrong with Shater or Suleiman, aside from the obvious in the latter's case?
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« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2012, 11:52:38 am »
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« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2012, 11:54:37 am »
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No.
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« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2012, 11:58:58 am »
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What was wrong with Shater ?

Shater was imprisoned during the Mubarak era because of his opposition against Mubarak and apparent corruption/money irregularities. And if you have been in prison in Egypt, you are not allowed to run for President for 6 years after your release (a rule that's also from the Mubarak era still).
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« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2012, 01:13:09 pm »
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Ismail won a partial victory last week when an administrative court ruled that it had no proof his mother held dual nationality. But the election commission had earlier stated that it had verified her U.S. citizenship, making him ineligible.

Egyptian birtherism.


Except it actually is illegal in Egypt for a presidential candidate to have had a parent with non-Egyptian citizenship.

What was wrong with Shater or Suleiman, aside from the obvious in the latter's case?
Suleiman Supposedly didn't collect enough signatures in enough provinces or something to that effect.
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« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2012, 01:48:15 pm »
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Safe Morsi. Unless the army still has the power to make election results, which seems a dubious proposition.

'twould have been nice to see Suleiman run just to see him get his ass kicked. Tongue

I thought Amr Moussa was the frontrunner?
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« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2012, 01:55:03 pm »
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Also, for those curious as to the "official" reasons why the candidates were kicked off the ballot:

Quote
The preliminarily excluded 10 candidates are:

1- Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail, Lawyer-turned-preacher: The Presidential Elections Committee (PEC) has received evidence that his mother had a US citizenship from October 2006 till January 2010 when she passed away. This is against article 26th of the Constitutional Declaration. This article was passed by more than 77% approval in a referendum.

2- Omar Soleiman, former VP and Intelligence Chief: PEC has excluded more than 3000 of his citizen endorsements, making the geographic distribution of his remaining endorsements insufficient. A candidate not only needs at least 30,000 endorsements, but also needs that at least 1000 comes from 15 different governorates each.

3- Khairat Al-Shater: former MB Deputy Guide, current MB and FJP top nominee: has not received a full clearance from his 2006 "Al-Azhar Militias Case", thereby disqualifying him from any political activity until then.

4- Ayman Nour, nominee for the Ghad Al-Thawra Party (The Tomorrow Of The Revolution Party): has not received a full clearance from the case for which he was imprisoned following the 2005 presidential elections, when he was accused of falsifying endorsements for the founding of the (then) Al-Ghad (tomorrow) party.

5 & 6- Mortada Mansour (lawyer, former judge) and Ahmed El-Saidy: both are running on behalf of the Masr Al-Qawmy Party (Egyptian Nationalist Party). However, there is a legal leadership vacuum and struggle at the top of the party, making the party ineligible to nominate an official candidate.

7- Ibrahim Al-Gharib, MP: more than 2000 citizen endorsements were excluded, leaving him with less than the required minimum of 30,000 endorsements. Also, PEC has received evidence that he has/had a US passport.

8- Mamdouh Qotb, former Intelligence high ranking figure: nominated by the Al-Hadara party (Civilisation Party), he was disqualified because the members of the party who are MPs have resigned the party in protest of his nomination, rendering the party without a single official seat in parliament, and making his nomination illegal.

9- Ashraf Zaki Barouma, head of Masr Al-Kenana Party: PEC has discovered that he avoided obligatory military conscription, denying him of the right of Political Participation in elected office.

10- Hossam Khairat, Engineer: nominee on behalf of the Egypt Arab Socialist Party. The PEC has received proof that there is a leadership vacuum at the head of the party, leaving it without official representation and a capability to officially nominate candidates.
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« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2012, 01:57:51 pm »
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The major candidates left on the ballot are Morsi (of the Islamic Brotherhood), Moussa (former head of the Arab League), Fotouh ("moderate" Islamist), and Shafik (formerly of the Mubarak regime).
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« Reply #14 on: April 15, 2012, 02:16:26 pm »
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Well the removed ones sound pretty awful, but so do the ones remaining. I guess Moussa would be the most tolerable.
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« Reply #15 on: April 15, 2012, 03:12:29 pm »
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I think it's the sense that Moussa and Morsi are the ones with the best (or even the only real) shots, no?
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« Reply #16 on: April 15, 2012, 03:15:29 pm »
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Well the military isn't going to allow Morsi to remain in power if he wins. Which brings up the pretty worrying possibility of a serious Islamist insurgency if he wins and the military ousts him.
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« Reply #17 on: April 15, 2012, 03:21:35 pm »
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I'm not a hundred per cent convinced the military would do that, but I've overestimated the bona fides of the Egyptian military before.
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« Reply #18 on: April 15, 2012, 03:27:06 pm »
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The military in Egypt don't strike me as less bold than in Algeria, Turkey or Pakistan.
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« Reply #19 on: April 15, 2012, 04:58:41 pm »
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Regardless of who wins, isn't the military going to try to pull off something like the current situation in Pakistan, where the civilian government remains in place, but is very weak, and much of the power remains with the military in practice?  Or would that be harder to work out here?
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« Reply #20 on: April 15, 2012, 05:04:03 pm »
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The Muslim Brotherhood candidate wouldn't stand for that, which is why they'd probably just coup him outright.
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« Reply #21 on: April 16, 2012, 12:37:25 am »
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What voting system are they using for this?  FPTP?  Or is there a runoff?
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« Reply #22 on: April 16, 2012, 07:56:19 pm »
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What voting system are they using for this?  FPTP?  Or is there a runoff?


Top two runoff if no one hits 50%.

Election's on May 23rd, runoff will be June 16th if necessary.
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« Reply #23 on: April 17, 2012, 03:08:48 am »
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Apparently, there's a conspiracy theory alleging that Suleiman never really intended to run for real, but that his campaign was created in order to be struck down by the electoral commission, so that it doesn't look they're biased when they also struck down the candidacies of the Islamists.
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« Reply #24 on: April 17, 2012, 12:41:44 pm »
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The Muslim Brotherhood candidate wouldn't stand for that, which is why they'd probably just coup him outright.
The Muslim Brotherhood is a cautious organization that knows the power of the army, and the power of the United States, very well. They would consider such a state of affairs a major improvement over the past state of affairs and a base to work from.

What you need to wonder though is, just how much did the Muslim Brotherhood benefit electorally, not just from being the only established political group with any sort of credibility whatsoever when Mubarak fell, but also from having supported the Tahrir protests from fairly early on but not having co-instigated them in any way or form - in short, from the votes of frightened people who wanted law and order back and would never have toppled Mubarak - from the votes of ordinary Middle Class (western usage) people, in short? 'Cause these people are going to vote for Moussa.
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