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Successful Shafiq appeal could delegitimise Egypt presidency race

Re-entry into race of Mubarak's last PM could throw legitimacy of presidential election in doubt if constitutional court ends up barring Mubarak-era officials from politics

Ahram Online, Thursday 26 Apr 2012
Ahmed Shafiq
File photo: Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq talks during a press conference in Cairo, Egypt. (Photo: AP)
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Farouq Sultan, head of the Supreme Presidential Electoral Commission (SPEC), on Thursday refused to say what would happen if the constitutional court approves the Disenfranchisement Law, retroactively banning Ahmed Shafiq from the presidential race.

Egypt's first post-Mubarak presidential election could be deemed illegitimate if Ahmed Shafiq's appeal against the Disenfranchisement Law fails, according to an official source at the Supreme Constitutional Court Wednesday.  

The SPEC on Wednesday accepted Shafiq's appeal against its decision to bar him from standing for president, without giving reasons for its decision.

Shafiq's appeal against the Disenfranchisement Law will be sent to the Constitutional Court Commission Authority on Thursday which will then take 45 days to prepare a report and submit it to the Constitutional Court. Therefore, if Shafiq is retroactively banned from the election, the whole result could be deemed illegitimate.  

Presidential elections will take place on 23/24 May, and the president will be named on 21 June after a runoff voting round on 16/17 June, which is before the expected decision on Shafiq's appeal.

The source explained that the consequences of the appeal would not affect Shafiq as a contender; however, it would make all presidential procedures illegitimate if the Disenfranchisement Law was deemed constitutional.

Earlier on Wednesday, Shafiq filed an appeal against the SPEC on the legitimacy of the law, which was ratified on Tuesday by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF). According to the law, a limited number of individuals who served in top positions in the last ten years of Hosni Mubarak’s rule would not be eligible to enter the presidential race set for May of this year. Nor are they able to run for public posts for the next five years.

A former commander of the Egyptian Air Force and politician, Shafiq was a long-time minister in Mubarak's government and served for 57 days as his last prime minister in the final stretch of the rule of the ousted president.

Shafiq, who kept a low profile for several months after he was forced to step down as prime minister on 3 March 2011, re-entered the public arena when he announced in December 2011 his intention to run for president.

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