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Egypt's Election Commission Disqualifies Main Contenders
April 15, 2012

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In a move that will immediately eliminate two potential front-runners, Egypt's election commission has nullified the presidential campaigns of 10 candidates, including Omar Suleiman, who was Vice-president and ran the intelligence service when Hosni Mubarak was President, and Khairat el-Shater, the recently announced Muslim Brotherhood candidate.

The commission, made up of five senior judged appointed by Mubarak, said that Suleiman didn't have the requisite number of notarized signatures supporting his candidacy. Shater was disqualified because of a criminal conviction a few years ago.

Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, a member of the Salafist party, was also disqualified but on different grounds. Ismail's mother was an American citizen, a fact that puts his candidacy at odds with current law.

The Brotherhood had already registered a backup candidate, Mohammed Mursi, head of the Freedom and Justice Party. Also still in the running are Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh, a former high-ranking member of the Brotherhood, and Amr Moussa, former head of the Arab League.

Registrations for candidates running for president are officially closed. The election commission will issue a final list on April 26, and voting begins in May.

The two-day election will run May 23-24. If no candidate gains more than 50 percent of the vote, then the candidates who receive the two highest vote totals will take part in a runoff election on June 16-17. Final results will be announced on June 21. The ruling generals have vowed to hand over power by July 1.

That would depend also on the completion of a constitution, which has been delayed by the dissolution of the 100-member group appointed to write it.

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