Egypt’s election commission disqualified 10 presidential hopefuls, including Hosni Mubarak’s former spy chief and key Islamists, from running Saturday in a surprise decision that threatened to upend an already tumultuous race. Farouk Sultan, the head of the Supreme Presidential Election Commission, said that those barred from the race Mubarak-era strongman Omar Suleiman, Muslim Brotherhood chief strategist Khairat el-Shater and hard-line lawyer-turned-preacher Hazem Abu Ismail. He didn’t give a reason. The announcement came as a shock to many Egyptians as three of the 10 excluded were considered among the front-runners in a highly polarized race that has left the country divided into two strong camps: Islamists and former insiders from the ousted regime who are allegedly supported by the country’s ruling military council. The disqualified candidates have 48 hours to appeal the decision, according to election rules. The final list of candidates will be announced on April 26. Thirteen others had their candidacy approved, including former Arab League chief Amr Moussa, moderate Islamist Abdel-Moneim Abolfotoh and former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq, according to Sultan.
A spokesman for el-Shater’s campaign, Murad Mohammed Ali, called the decision “very dangerous” and said it gives a message that “there was no revolution in Egypt.” Officials with all the campaigns vowed to appeal. The struggle for power more than a year after Mubarak was ousted in a popular uprising has heated up with the approach of next month’s presidential vote, in which Islamist hopes of capturing Egypt’s highest post was recently challenged by the emergence of Mubarak’s vice president Suleiman onto the political scene after a long disappearance from public view. The Muslim Brotherhood, along with hard-line ultraconservative Salafis, have captured more than 70 percent of the parliament seats in the first post-revolution elections.
Full Article: Ten Candidates Barred From Egyptian Election – NYTimes.com.