Ex Arab League chief's chances boosted

CAIRO, April 18 (UPI) -- A decision by Egypt's Supreme Electoral Commission to bar 10 of the 23 presidential candidates boosts the former Arab League chief's chances, officials said.

"The commission rejected all appeals presented by the 10 candidates," a commission statement said Tuesday. The commission said its decision to disqualify the 10 candidates, including former spy chief Omar Suleiman, was due to "legal irregularities."


Other candidates ousted from the race include Khairat el-Shaiter, the Muslim Brotherhood's preferred candidate, and Salafist politician Hazem Abu Ismail, CNN said.

The commission's decision opens the field for former Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa and former Muslim Brotherhood leader Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, al-Masry al-Youm said.

The newspaper said the commission's decision gives Moussa an advantage as his main competitors have been excluded from the race.

Mostafa Kamel al-Sayed, a political expert, told the Egyptian daily most Egyptians want a president who previously served in the government and has extensive political experience. "Because of his background as a diplomat, Moussa was trained in the art of giving statements that don't necessarily mean much but save his image," he said.


The newspaper noted that a recent poll conducted by the al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo shows Moussa's name is recognized in poorer areas, but said Fotouh is expected to receive the highest percentage of ousted politician Abu Ismail's vote with Moussa following close behind.

The presidential elections are scheduled to occur on May 23 and May 24, with a runoff scheduled for June 16 and June 17, Ahram Online said. The country's new president will be officially named on June 21.

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