This press review is based on news articles published in Egypt Independent in English, al-Misrī al-Yawm in Arabic, al-Ahrām, al-Shurūq al-Jadīd and al-Akhbār on April 9-10, 2012 about the presidential elections, after former Vice President and Egypt’s spy chief 'Umar Sulaymān announced his candidacy for the top post on April 6 and submitted his papers minutes before the Higher Presidential Elections Commission (HPEC) closed presidency nomination on April 8.
Activists from political parties and revolutionary movements announced on Monday that they will organize mass protests on Friday, April 20, to reject the presidential bids of former regime figures.
The Revolutionary Youth Parliament and the Second Revolution of Anger Movement called for protests in the main squares of Cairo, Alexandria, Port Said and Minya under the motto "The revolution did not die,” to protest the candidacy of former Vice President Omar Suleiman and former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq.
The People's Assembly reacted by debating a draft law proposed by 'Isām Sultān, a member of parliament from al-Wasat Party, to ban former officials from the old regime to run for presidency for ten years.
That came during a meeting of the People's Assembly's Proposals and Complaints Committee which referred the draft to the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee for further discussions. In case of approval by that Committee, the draft law will be submitted to the People's Assembly. [Khālid Abū al-'Izz, Ismā'īl Jum'ah and Sāmih Lāshīn, al-Ahrām, April 10, p. 1] Read original text in Arabic
Hatem Bagato, secretary general of the Presidential Elections Commission, said the commission is ready to apply the law banning former regime members from running in the elections if it is passed by Parliament.
“We will abide by any law, even if it is retroactive, provided that it is issued by a competent body, be it Parliament or the head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces in his capacity as president,” Begato said. “Until then, those who have worked for the former regime remain rightful candidates.”
He also said the commission will carefully examine all cases, and will deal impartially with all candidates, adding that the commission found duplicate signatures collected by some candidates, which would be discarded.
On Monday, the commission said it would accept challenges to its initial list of candidates on Tuesday and Wednesday, and would notify those who have not met the conditions on 12 and 13 April, to allow them to file appeals on 14 and 15 April.
The People's Assembly's Proposals and Complaints Committee approved on Monday a bill amending Presidential Elections Law 123/2011 by adding a clause banning former regime figures from running for president, the state-run al-Ahram newspaper reported.
The amendment was proposed by MP Essam Sultan, vice president of the Wasat Party, during a parliamentary session on Sunday. The approval came at the end of discussions attended by Minister of Manpower and Immigration Fathy Fekry, the newspaper said, adding that the draft was amended per the suggestion of MPs Amr Hamzawy and Mohamed al-Beltagy.
According to the bill, those who served in leading government in the five years leading up to Mubarak's resignation are banned for ten years from running for the posts of president, vice president, prime minister and government minister. Included are those who were presidential staff, security, parliament members and ruling party officials.
Lawsuits against candidates:
Egypt Independent of April 10 said attorney Sābir Shalabī filed a lawsuit to ban Sulaymān and Shafīq from nomination for their bad reputation. Shalabī claims that the two former high-ranking state officials would have been involved in certain political events such as the Battle of the Camel, where demonstrators were killed, and a deal providing Egyptian oil for below-market costs to Israel.
Egypt Independent of April 9 also wrote that in another lawsuit, Ayman Nūr, leader of Ghad al-Thawra Party, vowed to object a ruling by the Supreme Administrative Court which bans him from running for president. Following the law that a person who was not granted full amnesty or remission may not practice his political rights. Nūr, who did not serve a complete sentence and was not rehabilitated post-sentence, maintains that the ruling is invalid and contains unprecedented legal errors.
Al-Shūrūq al-Jadīd of April 10 wrote that in the case of presidential hopeful Hāzim Salāh Abū Ismā'īl, a Salafist who may be disqualified from the presidential race because of his mother's alleged American nationality, lawyer and legal expert Ahmad Sūkārnū will be defending Abū Ismā'īl's case.
Sūkārnū said that Abū Ismā'īl's legal position is firm based on Articles 10 and 16 of the Egyptian Nationality Law.
Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, head of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, said Monday that the army did not field any candidate in the presidential elections.
State-run MENA news service quoted Tantawi as saying that the armed forces are impartial to all candidates.
Activists and experts told Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper on Monday that former intelligence chief Omar Suleiman is the army’s candidate for the presidency.
“The SCAF will do anything to make Suleiman win,” said activist George Ishaq. Meanwhile, Ammar Ali Hassan, a journalist and political researcher, said the junta pushed Suleiman in response to the Muslim Brotherhood's fielding Khairat al-Shater, a view that was stated before by the Financial Times.
Hassan said that if Suleiman wins, he would reproduce the former regime.
Amr Hashem Rabie, an expert at al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, considered it an attempt to abort the revolution and stop tracing the corruption of the former regime.
In an interview published in the state-run al-Akhbar newspaper on Monday, Suleiman said his bid for the presidency does not have the support of Egypt's military rulers.
In an official statement on its Facebook account, SCAF stressed that the Egyptian people will elect the next president through the ballot box and without any interference. [Islām Sa'īd, Al-Shurūq al-Jadīd, April 10] Read original text in Arabic
For his part, Binyamin (Fouad) Ben-Eliezer, a member of the Israeli Knesset, said that Sulaymān would be the best candidate for Israel's interests. [Al-Shurūq al-Jadīd, April 10] Read original text in Arabic
On the front page of al-Ahrām, April 10, a number of Coptic thinkers and politicians agreed that the nomination of Sulaymān for presidency will bring back Mubārak's regime. In addition, Ishāq Hanā, Secretary-General of the Egyptian society for enlightenment, said that this nomination endangers the revolution.
Sa'ādah Husayn in al-Ahrām, April 10 quoted George Ishāq, a political activist who lashed out at the nomination of Sulaymān, said that it is not possible that one of the main symbols of the former regime to run for presidency.