Egypt Islamists denounce Mubarak-era ‘leftovers’

2012-04-13 11:12

Thousands of Islamists demonstrated in Egypt to demand that members of ousted president Hosni Mubarak’s regime be barred from standing in next month’s presidential election.

The demonstrators today gathered in an upbeat mood in the capital’s iconic Tahrir Square, symbol of the popular protest movement that led to last year’s downfall of Mubarak, amid chants of “No to leftovers from the old regime!”

“We don’t want Omar Suleiman!” they cried, referring to Mubarak’s former intelligence chief who was also briefly vice president, and who had sought to make a return to political life as a candidate in the May 23-24 election.

Today’s demonstration came a day after the Islamist-dominated parliament approved a law that would ban former regime members from standing for public office.

The law, which still has to be approved by the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), could see former officials such as Suleiman disqualified.

The SCAF, which took over when Mubarak stood down on February 11 2011, is widely seen as backing Suleiman’s candidacy for president.

“The people want to bring down the military!” protesters chanted today after the SCAF yesterday insisted it “does not back any of the presidential candidates.”

Mubarak’s last premier Ahmed Shafiq, as well as former Arab League chief and long-time foreign minister Amr Mussa, are also candidates in next month’s poll for the top job and would be disqualified if the new law is ratified.

Khairat El-Shater, presidential candidate for the powerful Muslim Brotherhood, has denounced Suleiman’s attempt to make a political comeback, likening it to an attempt “to steal the revolution” and warned it could spark huge street protests.

The demonstration was called by the Brotherhood, now Egypt’s main political force, and more hardline Salafist groups in statements on their websites demanding the “protection of the revolution.”

Liberal and secular groups who also do not wish to see the return of Mubarak-era figures, stayed away from the protest. They have instead called a demonstration on April 20 to denounce what they see as Islamist monopolisation of political life in the country since the revolt.

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