Egypt - Suleiman warns of religious state

2012-04-12 18:52

kalahari.com

Cairo - Hosni Mubarak's former vice president said he decided to run for president to prevent Islamists from turning Egypt into a "religious state".

Omar Suleiman, who was also Mubarak's long-serving intelligence chief, said in an interview published on Thursday that the Muslim Brotherhood's fielding of a presidential candidate"horrified" Egyptians.

The Islamic fundamentalist Brotherhood, which has emerged as Egypt's most powerful political bloc after last year's uprising, reversed an earlier decision not to field a candidate.

Suleiman told the weekly El-Fagr that the Brotherhood would control all state institutions if it wins the presidency and warned Egypt would be isolated internationally if that happened.

The Brotherhood already controls just under half of parliament's seats and is the single largest bloc. Together with other Islamists, they have a 70% majority in the chamber.

"It is my belief that those who demand that I run, like a majority of this nation's citizens, are in a predicament and indeed the whole state is in a predicament, especially after the Brotherhood decided to field one of its leaders for the presidency after it pledged not to," Suleiman, 75, said in the interview.

"That change struck horror in the souls of members of the Egyptians society. If the Brotherhood's candidate wins the presidential election, Egypt will be turned into a religious state. All state institutions will be controlled by the Brotherhood."

Suleiman's comments came as the Islamist-dominated parliament debated a draft bill to strip top figures from the Mubarak regime of their political rights, including voting and running for office, for 10 years.

If adopted, the law would disqualify Suleiman from running in the May 23-24 presidential election along with another candidate, Ahmed Shafiq, who was Mubarak's last prime minister.

Revolutionary state

During Mubarak's three-decade secular presidency, the Muslim Brotherhood was repressed with thousands of its members jailed.

Government representatives told the legislature on Thursday that the draft law violated the constitution, with the Justice Minister Mohammed Attiyah saying that no one should be stripped of their political rights without a court order.

Lawmakers countered that the nation remains in a "revolutionary state" that empowers the legislature to make such a law.

Others warned that a Suleiman presidency would mean the imprisonment of lawmakers and what one lawmaker described as the return of Israel's influence in Egypt. Suleiman was a frequent visitor to Israel while Egypt maintained the Arab world's first and longest standing peace treaty with the Jewish state.

"We are in a state of self-defence, we are defending Egypt and ourselves," said independent Islamist lawmaker Mahmoud Khodeiri, one of the country's top legal experts. "Omar Suleiman means Mubarak returns to the palace, and we all go to prison, and these are the lucky ones because others will be sent to the gallows."

Mubarak is on trial for his life, charged with complicity in the killing of protesters in the uprising that toppled his regime. He was arrested in April last year, but has since been detained in hospital.

Other presidential candidates are also facing legal challenges, including the Brotherhood's Khairat el-Shater. Some have challenged el-Shater's candidacy on the grounds he served time in prison in connection to his political activity under Mubarak.

He was pardoned by the military generals who succeeded Mubarak, but his detractors argue that more time must pass before he can run, according to the law.

The election of a president is the last stage of Egypt's turbulent transition to democratic rule. The ruling generals who took over from Mubarak have promised to step down by July 1.

- AP

Read more on:    omar suleiman  |  egypt  |  north africa  |  egypt elections 2012

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

Zuma: Pray for peaceful polls

President Jacob Zuma has asked members of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God to pray for peaceful elections on 7 May.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Friday Grabouw - 11:32 AM
    Road name: N2 Eastbound
    DELAYS between Sir Lowrys Pass and Grabouw
  • Friday Cape Town - 10:14 AM
    Road name: M3 Inbound
    EVENT - left lane closed between Rhodes Avenue and UCT
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Apple iPad 2 White 16GB 9.7" Tablet With WiFi & 3G

Two cameras for FaceTime and HD video recording. The dual-core...

From R5727.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may find yourself putting in that extra effort on looking good and making an impression. ...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.