Egypt MPs challenge Suleiman presidency bid (REUTERS) Writing by Tom Perry CAIRO, EGYPT 04/12/12 2:36pm EDT)
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(Reuters) - Egypt´s Islamist-dominated parliament on Thursday passed
legislation banning top officials who served under Hosni Mubarak from
becoming president, a move which could derail former Vice President
Omar Suleiman´s attempt to become head of state.
The measure however would need to be approved by Egypt´s ruling
military and in a signal of the military council´s likely response, a
minister in the army-appointed cabinet called the new law "a
deviation" that targeted one or two people.
The legislation approved on Thursday, an amendment to the law
governing political rights, would also block the candidacy of anyone
who served as a prime minister in the decade prior to Mubarak´s
removal from power. That would rule out Ahmed Shafiq, who is also
However, it did not cover former ministers, meaning it would not
affect leading liberal contender Amr Moussa, Mubarak´s foreign
minister for a decade until 2001.
The presidential election gets under way on May 23 with two days of
voting expected to be followed in June with a run-off between the top
The field is broadly made up of Islamists, officials who served under
Mubarak and independent leftists and liberals.
The legislation approved on Thursday was a direct response to the
last-minute decision by Suleiman to seek the presidency, a step which
both Islamists and secular-minded reformists alike see as a threat to
their hopes for democratic reform.
The Muslim Brotherhood, which controls nearly half the seats in
parliament, was outlawed under Mubarak.
As head of the Egyptian intelligence, Suleiman was one of Mubarak´s
closest aides. The former president appointed him as his deputy after
the eruption of the popular uprising that led to his downfall on
February 11, 2011.
Suleiman´s critics have said he will only be able to win the vote
through the kind of rigging that happened during elections in the
Mubarak era. However, his candidacy appears to have a struck a chord
among voters concerned at the rise of Islamist influence and who see
him as the best bet for stability.
Khairat al-Shater, the Muslim Brotherhood´s presidential candidate,
has said Suleiman´s candidacy is an insult to Egyptians who rose up
against Mubarak. The Brotherhood has called a protest on Friday in
Suleiman has said he will win support among Egyptians who he believes
are angered at attempts by the Muslim Brotherhood to dominate the
The military council has been governing with Mubarak´s presidential
powers since it took control of the country. That means parliament
has only limited authority, though the chamber was elected in Egypt´s
most democratic election in six decades. (© Thomson Reuters 2012.
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