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Egypt: Pity the Winner

Author: Elliott Abrams, Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies
April 19, 2012
National Review


Egypt's presidential race is now down from 23 declared candidates to just a handful of real competitors. On April 14, the Supreme Presidential Electoral Commission disqualified ten candidates, including Omar Suleiman, who had been President Hosni Mubarak's intelligence-service chief; Khairat El-Shater, the Muslim Brotherhood's candidate; Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, the Salafi leader; and Ayman Nour, the man who had run against Mubarak in 2005.

This leaves Amre Moussa, the former Mubarak foreign minister and head of the Arab League; the Brotherhood's substitute candidate, Mohammed Mursi; and Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, the former Brotherhood leader now running as a sort of "centrist Islamist." The field may change again, for a newly adopted statute would also bar Ahmed Shafik, former head of the air force and briefly prime minister as Mubarak was collapsing, but the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces has yet to approve this new statute. The election will be held on April 23 and 24, with a run-off in June if no one gets 50 percent.

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