At Last, Egypt Settles On Presidential Candidates | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

At Last, Egypt Settles On Presidential Candidates

Play associated audio

After months of anticipation, and just a few weeks before the voting, Egypt now has a list of 13 officially approved presidential candidates.

Amr Moussa, the former secretary-general of the Arab League, is one of the 13, and he is ahead in most opinion surveys in advance of the May 23-24 election.

And in a reversal, Egyptian election officials agreed Thursday to let one of Hosni Mubarak's former prime ministers run for president.

The candidate, Ahmed Shafiq, was allowed to re-enter the race after he was disqualified a day earlier. The reversal drew angry reactions from one key Islamist group, and some analysts believe it could complicate, or even derail the election.

The Muslim Brotherhood, which easily won the most votes in parliamentary elections several months ago, said in a message on its website that the election commission was playing politics.

At a televised news conference, the chairman of the election commission, Farouq Sultan, waved off journalists who questioned their decision. We know better than you what the law is, he told the journalists.

Potential Legal Issues And Delays

But some analysts say it is not that simple.

"This will threaten the whole presidential elections process, and possibly the whole transition process as well," said Omar Ashour, a visiting scholar at the Brookings Center in Doha, Qatar.

At issue is the law that was used to ban Shafiq in the first place. The law was approved by parliament and later by the military junta. The constitutional court will review the ban within 45 days.

But that means the ruling could come after the election, and it could lead to additional legal challenges, Ashour said.

The ensuing legal quagmire, he added, could give the ruling generals the leverage to impose delays if they don't like the winning candidate.

"The generals want someone who does not challenge their status quo too much, who does not push forward a revolutionary change in civil and military relations," said Ashour. "If the results are radically worrying for them, then they may use the constitutional court decision."

But Sultan, the chairman of the election commission, said the decision to reinstate Shafiq is final. He told reporters that if Shafiq is elected president, he will be allowed to remain in that post even if the court upholds the law banning him.

But Shafiq faces an uphill battle at the polls. Moussa is considered the favorite, and two Islamist candidates are also expected to make a strong showing.

One is Abdul Moneim Aboul Fotouh, a former Muslim Brotherhood leader whose moderate stance has won him widespread secular support.

The other is the Brotherhood's own candidate, Mohammed Mursi, who heads the movement's political party that holds nearly half the seats in parliament.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Speed Dating For Seniors Who Aren't Interested In Slowing Down

A new film follows daters ages 70 to 90 looking for love in five-minute intervals. "Speed dating for seniors" may sound funny, but The Age of Love is really about our lifelong need for intimacy.
NPR

Eat Your Veggies! Even The Ones From Fukushima

Foods from Fukushima, Japan, are back to pre-accident levels of radiation but people still aren't eating them. One way to ease concerns: a chemical that blocks radioactive cesium from entering plants.
NPR

House Panel Questions Gen. Campbell About Readiness Of Afghan Force

Congress wants to know whether the U.S. military tried to hide problems with the Afghan military force. Afghans are leading the fight against the Taliban — with U.S. troops mostly in the background.
NPR

Sharing Patient Records Is Still A Digital Dilemma For Doctors

There's good news and bad news about electronic medical records. They're now in most doctors' offices — but most doctors still can't easily share them.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.