Egypt’s presidential election commission has disqualified 10 out of 23 candidates from the upcoming election, including the Muslim Brotherhood’s Khairat al-Shater and Mubarak’s spy chief Omar Suleiman.The presidential race was shocked Saturday when the election body removed three leading candidates that also included Salafi nominee Hazem Salah Abu Ismail from next month’s vote.
The candidates have 48 hours to appeal against the decision.
The polls are scheduled to be held in two rounds. The first would be held over two days on May 23 and 24, while a run-off, if necessary, would take place on June 16 and 17. Final results are expected on June 21.
The disqualifications were announced two days after Egyptians held a mass rally, organized by the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafist groups, to pressure the country’s ruling junta to prohibit members of the ousted ex-ruler Hosni Mubarak’s regime from running for president.
The huge demonstration came a day after the country’s parliament ratified a bill prohibiting members of the old guard from standing for public office.
Omar Suleiman, who served as the head of Egypt’s General Intelligence Department for 18 years, registered as one of the presidential hopefuls last week.
Many consider Suleiman a favorite of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which has ruled Egypt since Mubarak’s ouster in February 11, 2011.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate Khairat al-Shater had said that Suleiman’s presidential bid could spark a second revolution in the country.