Egypt court upholds presidential ban on Salafi, former VP

Published Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The commission overseeing Egypt's presidential election has upheld rulings disqualifying eight candidates including former spy chief Omar Suleiman and Salafi preacher Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, the state-owned al-Ahram newspaper said on Tuesday.

The panel has yet to decide on appeals lodged by two other candidates including the Muslim Brotherhood's Khairat al-Shater, al-Ahram's online edition reported.

The commission said on 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.

Abu Ismail was ruled out because his mother held US citizenship, the commission said, though he has fiercely denied this and has accused the authorities of conspiring against him. His blend of hardline Islam and revolutionary zeal has won him an enthusiastic following.

Suleiman, one of 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 candidates are required to present, according to the state news agency.

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.

Al-Ahram reported that the committee also upheld its disqualification of Ayman Nour, a liberal who came a distant second to Mubarak in the 2005 presidential election.

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.

Other leading candidates are Amr Moussa, the ex-Arab League secretary general, and Abdel Moneim Abol Fotouh, who was expelled from the Muslim Brotherhood last year when he defied its orders by deciding to run.

(Reuters)

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