Cairo, Apr 9: An interesting mix of candidates— from ultra conservatives to Leftists to the former regime loyalists—have officially entered the race to become Egypt’s next president, as nominations closed on Sunday for the first post Hosni Mubarak presidential election.
While former vice president and ousted leader Mubarak’s intelligence chief Omar Sulayman was the last person to submit his papers, the Muslim Brotherhood threw in an “alternative candidate” as a cover if their main contender fails to qualify.
Around 20 people have registered their nominations and the candidates include former Arab League chief Amr Mussa, ultra-conservative preacher Hazem Abu Ismail, former Muslim Brotherhood member Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh and Mubarak’s last prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq.
Muslim Brotherhood fielded Khairat El-Shater as their candidate after initially saying they would not contest for the presidential seat.
On the last day of nomination, the outfit also fielded a second candidate—the head of the Freedom and Justice party Muhammad Morsi—as an “alternative candidate” in case El Shater does not qualify.
Sulayman, a Mubarak-era strongman, reached the election office only minutes before the 2 pm deadline for presidential candidacy applications with much fan fare but his candidacy was received poorly by intellectuals on the social network.
Sulayman was appointed vice president after the revolution started in Egypt on January 29, 2011. He attempted to convince the revolutionaries at the Tahrir Square to leave and promised then he will not run for presidency, saying he was an old man.
Two other significant figures from the former regime in the race are former prime minister Ahmad Shafiq and former foreign minister Amr Musa.
Two hopefuls have already been disqualified, including Salafist hardliner Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail whose mother has a US passport and Ayman Nur who was the second runner up in the presidential elections in 2005. Nur was disqualified on a court ruling.
Muslim Brotherhood defect Abd-al-Moneim Abu-al-Futuh is running as an independent candidate, whose platform is both reformative and Islamic.
The last important candidate is Hamadeen Sabahi who is a Nasserite who believes in Pan-Arab nationalism.
The other candidates are comprised of less prominent profiles. The elections are slated for May 24 and 25 with run offs in June if needed.