Presidential elections will be held in Egypt in May – the first since Hosni Mubarak was removed in last year’s popular uprising – and it looks as if the list of candidates will be a long one. Outside the office of the Presidential Election Commission, close to where President Mubarak used to have his residence, the candidates come out in a steady stream, brandishing the papers they need to begin their run for election to be the next president of Egypt. Sami Ibrahim Abdul Latif is a man of humble origins, from a simple village in the Nile Delta, wearing the traditional Egyptian galabeya. He scrapes a living reciting the Koran in graveyards. His programme is to support the poor – people like himself, he says. His campaign team consists just of himself. He has no campaign funds whatsoever.
Sami Ibrahim Abdul Latif says he will support less well-off Egyptians
“What about the requirement to secure 30,000 signatures,” I ask him, in order to get his name on the ballot paper? “That’s wrong,” he says, and he pledges to challenge it with national and international lawsuits.
In Egypt’s more than 5,000 years of history, only three people have ever stood in a contested election to lead the country and that was the less-than-free presidential race won by Hosni Mubarak in 2005. But this year, even before nominations have closed, more than 900 Egyptians have already put their names forward.