Mubarak's ex-premier barred from poll

2012-04-24 21:27

Cairo - Egypt's ruling military has approved a law banning Hosni Mubarak's top former officials from running for president, ruling out his last prime minister and possibly helping former Arab League chief Amr Moussa in his race against Islamists.

Ahmed Shafiq's elimination narrows the options for Egyptians who do not want an Islamist head of state: the other front-runners are the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Mursi and Abdel Moneim Abol Fotouh, a former member of the group.

Egypt holds its first presidential election since Mubarak's overthrow in February 2011 on May 23 and 24, with a likely run-off between the top two candidates in June. The ruling generals are due to hand power to the new president on July 1.

The sketchy opinion polls that are available put Moussa in the lead, suggesting he will head into the run-off against one of the Islamists. However, many voters are undecided.

"Part of the votes that would have gone to Shafiq would go to Amr Moussa, because he is the only figure with government experience that remains in the race," said Mustapha Kamel al-Sayyid, a professor of political science at Cairo University.

The first real race for the Egypt's presidency had already taken a dramatic turn earlier this month when the authorities disqualified three other front-runners including Mubarak's former vice-president, Omar Suleiman, and two top Islamists.

The disqualifications have stoked the turbulence of the army-led transition, which has been punctuated by outbursts of lethal street violence and which is now mired in political tension between Islamists and secular-minded forces.

Egypt is set for more political uncertainty after the presidential vote. Questions remain about how much influence the powerful military will wield and to what extent presidential powers will be diluted in a new constitution.

Ahmed Shafiq

The law barring Mubarak-era officials was drafted by the Islamist-dominated parliament in response to former spy chief Suleiman's late decision to enter the race. News of his candidacy brought tens of thousands of demonstrators - both Islamists and liberals - into the streets in protest.

"In our view, any attempt to exclude or deprive citizen Ahmed Shafiq of his political rights is a constitutional transgression," said Ahmed Sarhan, spokesperson for Shafiq.

Another spokesperson for the Shafiq campaign said he would appeal against any move to disqualify him. The commission overseeing the election has the final say on Shafiq's candidacy. Its decisions cannot be appealed in the courts.

Analysts say Shafiq's exclusion seemed inevitable after the military council approved of the legislation, which took legal force on Tuesday, according to an official document.

The law denies political rights to anyone who occupied a string of top positions during the last decade of Mubarak's rule, but does not apply to former ministers, meaning it does not affect Moussa's bid. He served as foreign minister for a decade under Mubarak before becoming Arab League chief in 2001.

Mubarak appointed Shafiq as prime minister in his last days in power to try to defuse popular anger in the streets.

A former air force commander, Shafiq had served as Mubarak's minister of civil aviation and won credit for overseeing the redevelopment of Cairo airport.

Read more on:    amr moussa  |  ahmed shafiq  |  egypt  |  north africa  |  egypt elections 2012

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X 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
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


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 network.


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.