Category Archives: Candidates & Campaigns

Objectionable behavior? 10 candidate objections brought before Egypt’s presidential elections commission

The presidential race is currently in the midst of an interesting phase: the window to present objections to candidates. During this period the candidates can file objections to their opponents’ candidacies (on “legitimate” grounds of course), with the goal of having the PEC disqualify their competitors from the race. The window for filing objections closes tomorrow, after which the PEC will rule (either Saturday or Sunday) on which candidates have been excluded due to “legitimate objections”.

These are the objections that have been raised thus far:

Abul-Ezz El-Hariri, who is running on the Socialist Popular Alliance Party’s ticket, filed an appeal against MB candidate Khairat Al-Shater on the grounds that Al-Shater’s pardon was invalid. If the pardon is overturned, Al-Shater will be ineligible to run because Egyptian law prohibits presidential candidates with a criminal record. Fearing a negative outcome to the case, the Brotherhood nominated a second candidate, Mohamed Morsi, in the event that Al-Shater is disqualified. Recent events seem to be in Al-Shater’s favor, however, as the judge presiding over the case recused himself due to preexisting bias.

Ahmed Mohamed Awad Ali, who is running on the National Egypt Party’s ticket, filed an objection to Mortada Mansour, who is running on the same party’s ticket. Awad claims that Mansour’s nomination is illegal.

Hossam Khairallah, who is running on the Peace Democratic Party’s ticket, filed 8 objections yesterday against 8 different candidates. They are:

Ashraf Barouma (Kanana Party); Mohamed Fawzy Eissa (Democratic Generation Party); Abu-Ezz El-Hariri (SPAP); Hisham El-Bastawisi (Tagammu Party); Abdullah El-Ashaal (Asalah Party); Mamdouh Helmy Kotb (Civilisation Party); Hussam El-Din Khairat (Arab Socialist Party); and Ayman Nour (Ghad El-Thawra Party).

Khairallah contends that these candidates were nominated by political parties that are not represented in parliament (candidates can only be nominated by parties that hold seats in the People’s Assembly). He argues that, though the parties are part of a coalition that is represented in parliament, the independent parties themselves are not, and therefore cannot endorse individual candidates.

In its announcement yesterday, the PEC noted that, in addition to the objections above,  a large number of objections have been registered by citizens. The PEC emphasized, though, that article 14 of law 174 (2005) stipulates that the right to object is limited to other candidates, and therefore these objections will not be considered.

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Filed under Abdulla Al-Ashaal, Abul-Ezz El-Hariri, Ahmed Mohamed Awad Ali, Ashraf Barouma, Ayman Nour, Candidate eligibility, Candidates & Campaigns, Hisham El-Bastawisi, Hossam Khairallah, Hossam Khairat, Khairat Al-Shater, Mamdouh Kotb, Mohamed Fawzy Eissa, Mortada Mansour, Rules & Regulations

Updates 4/11: Abu-Ismail back in the game (for now), Al-Shater ruling delayed, Brotherhood calls for “million-man march”

A few updates from today’s news:

  • The court has ruled that the Interior Ministry does not have sufficient evidence to prove that candidate Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail’s mother is a US citizen; at least for now, Abu-Ismail is considered an eligible candidate.
  • A ruling on the legitimacy of Khairat Al-Shater’s candidacy has been delayed after the judges recused themselves from the case. Replacement judges are expected to be appointed within the next few days. The case addresses whether Al-Shater’s conviction under the Mubarak regime disqualifies him from running, despite a pardon from the SCAF. In a similar case, the court ruled that candidate Ayman Nour is ineligible to run.
  • The Muslim Brotherhood has called for a “million-man” demonstration to take place Friday in Tahrir Square. The demonstration is part of a series of protests aimed at “Protecting the Revolution,” and Brotherhood leadership has stated that the event will not be used for Al-Shater’s campaign.
  • Parliament will convene a second special session tomorrow to continue its discussion of the proposed disenfranchisement law, which would bar individuals who held key positions in the final years of the Mubarak administration (including Omar Suleiman and Ahmed Shafiq) from participating in politics. Today’s discussion included the possibility of amending a similar 1956 law rather than drafting new legislation; many MPs believe that the new law could be deemed unconstitutional, as it is generally understood to be targeting Suleiman’s candidacy specifically.
  • The SCAF Advisory Council has called for an interim constitution to be drafted which would include regulations for the formation of a new Constituent Assembly. The Advisory Council indicated that any assembly formed should include members from all aspects of society and should not be dominated by any one group. The crisis surrounding the current Constituent Assembly, which is dominated by Islamists and which has been frozen by the courts, has raised questions about the timeline for the transition of power to a civilian government. As the presidential election process moves forward, it is increasingly unclear whether a constitution will be written in time to prescribe powers to the victor before he takes office.

 

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Filed under Candidate eligibility, Candidates & Campaigns, Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail, Khairat Al-Shater, Rules & Regulations

Court rules in favor of Abu-Ismail

In a verdict read late Wednesday evening, the State Council Administrative Court ruled in favor of presidential candidate Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail, stating that the Interior Ministry had not provided sufficient evidence that Abu-Ismail’s mother became an American citizen.

The verdict, which was met by cheering and celebrations from supporters waiting outside, means that Abu-Ismail remains an eligible candidate (at least for now). A verdict on Al-Shater’s eligibility (challenged by rival candidate El-Hariri) has not yet been reached.

Summary of the ruling from the Egypt Independent

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Updates 4/10: Pro-revolution consensus candidate, the Constituent Assembly, & the disenfranchisement law

A brief overview of today’s election events & changes:
  • Voter registration for Egyptians living abroad closes at midnight GMT on April 11 — 572,204 individuals have registered so far.
  • Several candidates and their representatives met Monday at the Wasat Party headquarters to discuss the possibility of a “pro-revolution” consensus candidate. Candidates in attendance included Amr Moussa, Mohamed Selim El-Awa, Ayman Nour, and Hisham El-Bastawisi; Abul-Ezz El-Hariri and Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh sent representatives. Not in attendance (despite receiving invitations) were Mohamed Mursi and Hamdeen Sabbahi. Reports indicate a willingness to rally around a single candidate (the idea is to avoid splitting the vote and better challenge Omar Suleiman), but no agreement has been reached on who that candidate would be. Possible options include Abul-Fotouh, with Sabbahi as vice president, or Moussa, with both Abul-Fotouh and Sabbahi as vice presidents. Attendees also voiced their support of the proposed “disenfranchisement law” which, if passed, would prevent Omar Suleiman and Ahmed Shafiq from competing in the election.
  • The formation of the Constituent Assembly has been halted by a court ruling.  The assembly is barred from meeting or taking any action pending a further ruling on its legality. Both the Muslim Brotherhood and the Al-Nour Party, who together hold a controlling stake in the assembly as it is currently composed, have spoken out against the decision.
  • The “disenfranchisement law” proposed by Wasat Party MP Essam Sultan has been approved by committee; Parliament is expected to convene an extraordinary session tomorrow to discuss the legislation. The law would bar individuals who held leadership/decision-making positions in the last years of the Mubarak regime from participating in politics — including running for president — for ten years. If passed, it would disqualify Omar Suleiman and Ahmed Shafiq — but not Amr Moussa.
  • Lawsuits investigating the legitimacy of Abu-Ismail’s and Al-Shater’s candidacies are ongoing. Abu-Ismail is likely to be disqualified following revelations that his mother held American citizenship; Al-Shater’s eligibility is under question due to a conviction by a military court under Mubarak.
  • Economic issues continue to plague Egypt and are sure to play a large role in the campaigns and voting. The foot-and-mouth disease epidemic has reached over 74,000 cases, and a strike among silo workers is causing a wheat shortage.

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Filed under Abdel Moneim Abul-Fotouh, Abul-Ezz El-Hariri, Ahmed Shafiq, Amr Moussa, Ayman Nour, Candidate eligibility, Candidates & Campaigns, Economy, Egyptians living abroad, Hamdeen Sabbahi, Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail, Hisham El-Bastawisi, Khairat Al-Shater, Mohamed Mursi, Mohamed Selim Al-Awa, Omar Suleiman, Rules & Regulations, The Issues

Election Updates 4/9

A lot has happened in the past few days — here’s a brief overview of updates and changes in the elections:

  •  The period for submitting candidacy applications has officially closed, and a preliminary list of candidates has been released pending objections. Check out the list of 23 semi-finalists here. Several key figures are likely to be removed from the ballot before the final list is released and campaigns officially begin on April 26. Keep an eye on the candidates page for an updated list and brief profiles of the candidates (coming soon).
  • A ruling by the State Council administrative court will take Ayman Nour (Ghad El-Thawra Party) out of the race, based on a law that prevents anyone who has been convicted and served a prison sentence within the past six years from running for public office. This verdict comes despite Nour having received a pardon, and has raised questions as to whether Muslim Brotherhood candidate Khairat Al-Shater (who was also released from prison just last year) from running as well.
  • Mohamed Mursi (head of the FJP) has entered the race and is widely understood to be the Brotherhood’s “backup candidate” in the event that Al-Shater is disqualified.
  • Former intelligence chief Omar Suleiman submitted his application for candidacy just before the deadline. His entry into the race is controversial, particularly given the potential disqualification of several frontrunners, as many see him as emblematic of the Mubarak regime. Other names added to the list include: Mamdouh Kotb (Al-Hadara Party), Abdulla Al-Ashaal (Al-Assala Party), Khaled Ali (qualified with the endorsement of 32 MPs), Hossam Khairat (Egyptian Arab Socialist Party), Ashraf Barouma (Egypt Kinana Party), Mortada Mansour (Egyptian National Party).
  • Wasat Party MP Essam Sultan has proposed legislation that would ban individuals who served in the Mubarak regime — including key candidates such as Omar Suleiman and Ahmed Shafiq — from running for office for the next five years.
  • A statement released by the PEC indicates that Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail will likely face disqualification due to his mother’s US citizenship. A lawsuit filed by Abu-Ismail regarding this decision is set to be reviewed by a court tomorrow; meanwhile, many of his supporters are protesting the impending disqualification but remain optimistic that he will be allowed to run.
  • A poll conducted by Al-Ahram found that Amr Moussa remains the most popular candidate (30.7%), with Abu-Ismail in second place (28.8%), Abul-Fotouh in third (8.5%), and Suleiman in fourth (8.2%). Ahmed Shafiq was the only other candidate to receive more than 5%. Al-Shater won only 1.7% of votes.
  • Al-Shater made his first media appearance as presidential candidate today. Bassem Sabry (An Arab Citizen) has a good overview of key quotes & statements from Al-Shater (here). The official Brotherhood summary of his statements can be found on IkhwanWeb.

The next few weeks will be crucial as the list of candidates is finalized. Egypt Elects is dedicated to keeping you informed and will be posting regular updates.

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Filed under Abdel Moneim Abul-Fotouh, Abdulla Al-Ashaal, Ahmed Shafiq, Amr Moussa, Ashraf Barouma, Ayman Nour, Candidates & Campaigns, Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail, Hossam Khairat, Khairat Al-Shater, Khaled Ali, Mamdouh Kotb, Mohamed Mursi, Mortada Mansour, Omar Suleiman

Hamdeen Sabbahi and Ayman Nour official candidates

Hamdeen Sabbahi and Ayman Nour were accepted by the PEC today as official candidates, bringing the total number of candidates up to 15. Sabbahi qualified by submitting over 46,000 signatures; Nour is endorsed by the Ghad El-Thawra Party (also known as the El-Ghad Party). Both candidates were accompanied to submit their applications by crowds of supporters.

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Filed under Ayman Nour, Candidates & Campaigns, Hamdeen Sabbahi

Suleiman intends to run for president

Former intelligence chief Omar Suleiman has announced that he will in fact run for president, despite earlier statements to the contrary. In response to a rally held by supporters earlier today in Cairo, Suleiman said “I can not refuse the people’s will.” The deadline for filing an application to run is approaching quickly, however, and if Suleiman is unable to secure 30,000 signatures, the support of 30 MPs, or the official endorsement of a party sitting in Parliament, he will be forced to withdraw from the race.

A potential Suleiman candidacy was cited by the Muslim Brotherhood as a contributing factor to their decision to field Khairat Al-Shater. Suleiman was a prominent figure in the Mubarak administration and is generally considered to be an old-regime holdover. His participation in the race may also have the potential to split the non-Islamist vote.

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Lucky #13: Mubarak’s prime minister Ahmed Shafiq officially enters the race

Ahmed Shafiq, who served as Prime Minister under Hosni Mubarak, submitted his official candidacy documents yesterday. Shafiq collected over 60,000 citizen signatures, in addition to the endorsements of 20 MPs. This morning the HPEC confirmed Shafiq’s candidacy, making him the 13th official candidate. For a full list of candidates, please see the candidates section.

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PEC says Abu-Ismail’s mother had US passport

The PEC has stated that it has official information indicating that candidate Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail’s mother held an American passport in the months before she died. This information is grounds for Abu-Ismail’s disqualification as a candidate, due to regulations stipulating that candidates and their parents hold only Egyptian citizenship.

Abu-Ismail continues to vocally deny his mother’s alleged US citizenship and has stated that the controversy is a conspiracy set up to force him out of the race. He has filed a lawsuit against the chairman of the PEC and the Interior Ministry demanding proof of their claims that his mother became an American citizen.

If Abu-Ismail is indeed disqualified, many of his voters would likely go to Muslim Brotherhood candidate Al-Shater. Abu-Ismail’s popularity, however, promises to make any disqualification extremely controversial.

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Filed under Candidate eligibility, Candidates & Campaigns, Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail, Rules & Regulations

Al-Shater candidacy continues to make waves

Egyptian politics continue to be dominated by the fallout from the Muslim Brotherhood’s weekend announcement that they would be fielding Khairat Al-Shater as a presidential candidate.

Kamal Al-Helbawy, a former Brotherhood spokesperson who publicly resigned his post Saturday in protest, continues to speak out vocally against the decision. He argues that the nomination of Al-Shater is part of a Brotherhood power play in collusion with the SCAF. The FJP has recently backed down from its attempts to oust the current government through a vote of no confidence.

Meanwhile, Aboud Al-Zomor, a key figure in Jama’a al-Islamiya, has spoken out in defense of the Brotherhood’s decision, arguing that the Brotherhood has every right to reverse its decision in the face of changing circumstances, and stating that Al-Shater is a “patriotic capitalist.”

Reports indicate that Al-Shater, in an attempt to lessen the divisions in the Islamist voting base, has reached out to prominent conservative clerics, promising them a role in developing legislation in exchange for their support. Such an agreement would make Al-Shater more palatable to conservative voters who might be considering backing rival Abu-Ismail, but would certainly increase suspicions about the Brotherhood’s intentions among more liberal and/or secular groups.

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