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Presidential elections commission accuses Abu Ismail of illegal campaigning

Massive car parades that escorted Hazem Salah Abu Ismail on his way to submit his presidential candidacy papers prompted HPEC to file a legal complaint against him

Ahram Online, Saturday 31 Mar 2012
Abu Ismail
Abu Ismail appeared at many conferences of late (Photo: Abu Ismail's central campaign)
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The Higher Presidential Elections Commission (HPEC) filed a complaint against presidential contender Hazem Salah Abu Ismail late Friday, accusing him of illegal campaigning.

Earlier on the same day, thousands supporting Abu Ismail embarked on massive car parades and marches, using his banners and slogans as he submitted his presidential candidacy papers to HPEC headquarters.

According to HPEC chairman Farouk Sultan on 7 March, campaigning will officially begin 30 April, or after a final list of candidates is announced 26 April. Campaigning will continue until the end of 20 May, or 48 hours before elections day on 23 May. Anyone breaching these dates is liable for prosecution.

Hatem Bagato, HPEC secretary, said the commission regarded the acts of Abu Ismail's supporters as a breach of the campaign dates, and that he had faxed letters to the governor of Cairo and the interior ministry to inform them of the violations.

HPEC, according to Bagato, called on those parties to take the necessary legal action against Abu Ismail, and to remove his photo from the streets.

HPEC says Abu Ismail is the first presidential hopeful to secure the support of 30 elected MPs. The commission has also stated that the 50-year-old is the seventh contender to officially apply for presidential candidacy.

To be nominated, candidates must secure the support of 30 elected MPs, collect the signatures of 30,000 Egyptian citizens from at least 15 Egyptian governorates, or secure the backing of a political party that holds at least one seat in parliament.

The lawyer-cum-presidential frontrunner, Abu Ismail, has amassed some 150,000 signatures and has the support of 58 MPs, according to his central campaign office.

He was the third to meet the condition of gathering 30,000 signatures, after Amr Moussa and Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh.

With a relatively brief history in electoral politics, a respectable career as a lawyer, a reputable status as a influential Islamic preacher, and known for his sharp political rhetoric, Abu Ismail has emerged as a leading contender in Egypt’s first post-Mubarak presidential poll.

Presidential elections will take place 23-24 May, with the president named 21 June after a runoff vote 16-17 June, if necessary.

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