Category Archives: Candidates & Campaigns

#Egypt’s Presidential Elections Commission’s case against Abu-Ismail (and his American mother)

The PEC recently released an extensive, 33 page document, justifying its decision to disqualify Sheikh Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail. This release was likely prompted by the violent protests by supporters of Abu-Ismail following the decision by the PEC to uphold its initial ruling.

The document is in Arabic, but for the benefit of our English audience, we’ve translated some of the key findings:

Sheikh Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail

March 30, 2012: Abu-Ismail submits his candidacy papers for president

March 31, 2012: The PEC sends a letter to the Department of Immigration and Nationality inquiring about Abu-Ismail’s nationality as well as that of his family. In this letter the PEC also requests information on Dr. Abul-Fotouh, who had submitted his candidacy papers the day prior.*

* As the document below illustrates, the PEC made this same request for the 5 candidates who, at this point, had already submitted, as well as all of the candidates who submitted afterwards.

April 4, 2012: The PEC receives a response letter stating that a Ms. Nawal Abdul Aziz Nour (presumably Abu-Ismail’s mother) had entered and exited Egypt on a US passport (#500611598). The letter includes a copy of the original document:

On the same day the Ministry of Foreign Affairs provides the PEC with an application by a Ms. Nawal Abdul Aziz Nour for a US passport:

The bar-code enlarged in the image above shows that the passport number on the application matches the number of the Ms. Nour that had entered and exited Egypt.

April 6, 2012: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs submits a formal request to the US State Department inquiring as to whether Ms. Nour is a US citizen. In its reply the State Department confirms “that an individual named Nawal Abdelaziz Nour, who was born on November 3, 1946, was naturalized as a US citizen on October 25, 2006*:

* Note: The government did not publicize the State Department’s response until April 12, 2012

April 8, 2012:  The PEC receives another letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stating that the Ministy had received a copy of a Voter Registration Application  for Ms. Nour to vote in Los Angeles County:

In the Voter Registration Application (pictured below) Ms. Nour affirms in the top right that she is an American citizen:

Lastly, the PEC confirmed that the information for the Ms. Nour in question matched that of the Ms. Nour that Abu-Ismail had claimed as his mother:

April 11, 2012: Based on the information above, the PEC disqualifies Abu-Ismail on the grounds that his mother held US citizenship.

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Filed under Candidate eligibility, Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail, Uncategorized

Presidential Election Commission demonstrates its power, disqualifies 10 candidates – legitimacy of decision tied to its extensiveness

The PEC has disqualified 10 candidates, including 3 leading contenders: MB candidates Khairat Al-Shater, popular Salafi Sheikh Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail, and former Mubarak intelligence chief Omar Suleiman. Each of the 10 failed to meet a specific requirement for running for president.

The complete list of candidates disqualified is as follows:

1. Khairat Al-Shater

2. Sheikh Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail

3. Omar Suleiman

4. Ayman Nour

5. Mohamed Kotb

6. Ashraf Barouma

7. Hossam Khairat

8. Ibrahim Al-Gharib

9. Ahmed Awad Ali

10. Mortada Mansour

A number of candidates, including Al-Shater and Nour, were disqualified due to their criminal records. Abu-Ismail was disqualified due to his mother’s American citizenship, while the remaining candidates, including Suleiman, were disqualified primarily because of their failure to obtain the requisite number of signatures/endorsements. In many cases, the PEC determined that the signatures were either not authentic or did not meet the requirement of being from 15 different governorates. The disqualified candidates have 48 hours to appeal the decision.

The implications of the PEC’s decision are extensive, eliminating three to the more popular candidates in the race. Consequently, the coming days will be a test of Egypt’s democracy, as it remains to be seen whether or not the supporters of these candidates will be able to respect the PEC’s decision. One thing is certain, the PEC demonstrated that it is not afraid to take on the most influential groups in Egypt, including the Brotherhood (Al-Shater), Salafis (Abu-Ismail) and the SCAF (Suleiman). If anything, the comprehensive nature of the ruling may result in broad support, and the decision’s legitimacy may be respected because it equally targets all groups and did not show favoritism to one candidate/group.

Egypt Elects will continue to cover and analyze the disqualifications in the coming days, so stay tuned.

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Filed under Ahmed Mohamed Awad Ali, Ashraf Barouma, Ayman Nour, Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail, Hossam Khairat, Ibrahim Al-Gharib, Khairat Al-Shater, Mamdouh Kotb, Mortada Mansour, Omar Suleiman, Uncategorized

4/12 Updates: More detail on Abu-Ismail ruling, disenfranchisement law passed by Parliament, & voter registration closed for expats

A quick look at today’s key events in the elections:

  • Yesterday, an administrative court ruled in candidate Abu-Ismail’s favor, stating that the Interior Ministry had failed to provide sufficient evidence of his mother’s alleged US citizenship. Based on 1975 nationality law, if Abu-Ismail’s mother did not officially apply for dual citizenship with the Interior Ministry, she is not legally considered a US citizen in the eyes of the Egyptian government, regardless of her legal status in the US. Therefore, official Egyptian documentation of her dual citizenship must be presented; documentation simply showing that she entered Egypt on a US passport or documentation provided by the US government is not sufficient. While this is a victory for Abu-Ismail’s campaign, the question of his eligibility is not yet closed, as the Interior Ministry may appeal the ruling. Furthermore, the final decision rests in the hands of the PEC and, once made, will be beyond appeal.
  • Parliament has passed the “disenfranchisement law” in the form of an amendment to existing legislation. If enacted, the law will bar prominent candidates Omar Suleiman and Ahmed Shafiq from competing in the presidential race. However, parliament’s powers are limited, and the law must by approved by the SCAF.
  • Voter registration for Egyptians living abroad has officially closed: the final total of registered expat voters is 586,820, over 40% of whom reside in Saudi Arabia.
  • Salafi groups have announced their intent to participate in the Muslim Brotherhood-organized rally in Tahrir Square tomorrow. The rally’s stated purpose is to show support for the revolution and its goals, and to protest the nomination of candidate Omar Suleiman, who is considered to represent the old regime. Several youth and revolutionary groups, however, are refusing to participate.

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

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

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