Egypt’s electoral commission on Sunday said 23 people registered to run for the upcoming presidential elections, hours after the doors have officially closed for candidacy registrations. Each candidate is hoping to lead the Arab world’s most populous nation through a fragile transition following an uprising that toppled long-time president Hosni Mubarak last year. The candidates include former Arab League chief Amr Moussa, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Khairat el-Shater, former Brotherhood member Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh and Mubarak’s last prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq. Former intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, a stalwart of the Mubarak regime and seen as close to the ruling military, registered less than half an hour before the 2:00 pm (1200 GMT) deadline. Suleiman. 74, announced he planned to run on Friday, saying overwhelming public pressure had aroused his sense of soldierly duty. He had needed to collect the signatures of 30,000 eligible voters by Sunday’s deadline in order to take part.
Ecstatic supporters cheered behind lines of military police as Suleiman arrived at the office of the state election committee in Cairo. He then handed in his candidacy documents, state news agency MENA reported, citing a committee official. Brotherhood’s candidate Shater later described Suleiman’s candidacy bid as an “insult.”
Meanwhile, in a statement released late Saturday, the Brotherhood said they are putting forth party leader Mohammed Morsi as an alternate to Khairat el-Shater, the group’s chief strategist and financier. Egypt’s presidential electoral commission, which began accepting nominations March 10, said more than 1,200 citizens had applied to register to run in the race.