Disqualifications Roil Egyptian Election

Pages: 1 2

The three major candidates running in Egypt’s first presidential election since the revolution have all been disqualified by the country’s election commission on Tuesday. The decision has made an already confusing situation impossible to predict as none of the barred candidates have conceded their ouster and the possibility of violence by their followers threatens the stability of the country and the integrity of the vote.

The ousted candidates include former Mubarak vice president and head of intelligence Omar Suleiman; Muslim Brotherhood party official Khairat al-Shater; and the radical Salfis TV preacher Hazem Salah Aboul Ismail. The Muslim Brotherhood, in anticipation that al-Shater might be barred from running, is fielding a second candidate, Mohammed Morsi. He is not as well known as al-Shater and this has dimmed prospects for an Islamist victory.

The disqualifications add to the confusion and uncertainty surrounding the election as the military hinted it might delay the presidential contest until a constitution is written. The Supreme Court suspended the panel that was chosen by parliament to write the document, citing its lack of diversity (70% of the members were Islamists). A delay would almost certainly cause the Egyptian street to explode in anger at the military rulers, of whom many Egyptians are already suspicious.

The likely beneficiary of the disqualifications is former Arab League chief and a Mubarak-era foreign minister Amr Moussa. He leads in the most recent poll taken at the beginning of this month. Another candidate who will gain from the disqualifications is a former Muslim Brotherhood member Abdel-Moneim Abolfotoh who left the organization after clashing with the leadership. That same poll also showed that 40% of Egyptians were undecided on who to support, reflecting a national mood of uncertainty.

All told, 10 of the 23 presidential candidates were disqualified by the commission — a body filled with judges who are holdovers from the Mubarak regime. Their decision is supposed to be final but the three major candidates have all indicated that they will seek an appeal of the commission’s ruling.

Suleiman was barred for not having the requisite number of endorsements from each governorate. Al-Shater was disqualified because of a conviction during the Mubarak regime. And Abu Ismail was barred from running because his mother held an American passport. Suleiman had no chance for a reprieve given the technical nature of the violation that is keeping him off the ballot. The same could be said for Ismail, although his supporters, who threw rocks and scuffled with police in front of the election commission headquarters following the announcement, violently disagreed.

The case of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party candidate al-Shater was believed by some analysts to be different. His conviction of a crime occurred at a time when the Mubarak regime was rounding up Muslim Brotherhood members and creating non-existent charges to put them in jail. But the election commission ruled a conviction is a conviction and al-Shater was barred.

“We do not accept it. We will challenge it,” said Gehad El-Haddad, a member of the steering committee for the Renaissance Project, the hub of the FJP presidential effort.

Pages: 1 2

  • StephenD

    Does anyone reading this think for a moment the US State Department wants a "fair and neutral" process for the vote? I don't doubt that we are elbow deep in helping the M.B. since it seems on all other fronts, we look to heap praise on them (officially) and never question their loyalties, or their ultimate goals as being anything other than altruistic. Having the POTUS invite them into the W.H. says it all.

  • Coptic John

    The everlasting Egyptian problem is: You should opt between two fascist regimes, islamic or military … and freedom is not an option

    • Great White North

      I'd pick the military. Less chance of a massacre of religious minorities.

  • mlcblog

    Oh, I get it. Simple. Disqualify the others and then the MB can win. Wasn't this O's gang's plan all along? Remember Dohrn, Code Pink, et allii, were over in Gaza fomenting things at the time of the change of regime.

  • wctaqiyya

    OK, everybody repeat after me. It's a military junta. They still have all the power. Why are so many people still obsessing over the MB? The MB made a major blunder alienating and continuing to threaten the military. So long as the U.S. continues to supply Egypt with spare parts for planes and tanks, the military dictatorship is impervious. The military runs most of the economy and nearly all of the major institutions. Whoever 'wins' the election in Egypt will be subservient to the military. From that perch, we can only hope the new 'leader' continues to implement the Mubarak financial reforms and expands that effort to focus on literacy, Christian indoctrination in the schools, private enterprise, individual liberty, agricultural and industrial investments and upgrades. A starving, illiterate, murderous population with no stake in the game cannot form the basis for self governance. The new leader will also need to eliminate the barbaric influence of Islam, even if that means bringing back the Sun God. At best, it will take decades to accomplish any real progress.

    One last thing. How are the Egyptians going to pay their bills and buy food in the meantime? Personally, I don't want a single tax penny going there. But, it wouldn't disturb me if Egypt seizes the Sudanese and/or Libyan oilfields. Probably the best we can hope for are continuous conflicts between Muslims. Keeps em busy at least.

  • RoguePatriot6

    From one form of oppression to another.

    I wish the next POTUS stuck with this can of worms the best of luck.

    • wctaqiyya

      If Americans keep their noses out of ME business, they will happily kill each other and leave us alone. Bottom line stuff dude.