Egypt’s parliament has passed a bill that strips senior figures of ousted President Hosni Mubarak’s regime of their political rights for 10 years. Thursday’s vote is designed to stop Mubarak’s former spy chief and vice president, Omar Suleiman, from running in next month’s presidential election. The law would only come into effect if the military council that took over from Mubarak when he stepped down last year ratifies it. This is unlikely to happen before the election commission issues a final list of presidential candidates, which is expected later this month. Decisions of the election commission cannot be appealed. The law covers those who served in top posts, from the president down to leaders of his ruling party, during the 10 years prior to Mubarak’s ouster.
Hosni Mubarak’s former spy chief said he decided to run for president to prevent Islamists from turning Egypt into a “religious state,” and warned that the country would be internationally isolated if one of them won the presidency. Omar Suleiman, who also briefly served as Mubarak’s vice president, said in an interview published Thursday that the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood’s fielding of a presidential candidate”horrified” Egyptians. The Islamist group, which has emerged as Egypt’s most powerful political bloc since last year’s uprising, reversed an earlier decision not to field a candidate.