Abul-Fotouh requests final presidential vote count be delayed

Ahram Online, Sunday 27 May 2012

Moderate-Islamist candidate says official presidential vote count should be delayed until Egypt's Constitutional Court decides on disenfranchisement law; Sabbahi campaign considers supporting request

Egyptian presidential candidate and a former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh (Photo: Reuters)

Moderate-Islamist presidential hopeful Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh said on Sunday afternoon that official results of last week's first-round presidential vote should be postponed until Egypt's Constitutional Court issues a final decision on a 'disenfranchisement law' barring members of the former regime from assuming public office.

The law, proposed by parliament and ratified by the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, would effectively disallow runner-up presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq – Mubarak's last prime minister – from assuming the presidency.

Abul-Fotouh, who came in fourth place according to preliminary vote counts, said that if the Constitutional Court rules the disenfranchisement law constitutional, last week's presidential poll would be delegitimized and would have to be conducted again. He urged the court to issue a decision on the matter before the scheduled 16 June runoff vote, saying that, otherwise, Egypt's Supreme Presidential Electoral Commission (SPEC) – mandated with overseeing the presidential race – should postpone next month's runoff.

A source from Nasserist candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi's presidential campaign, meanwhile, told Ahram Online that Sabbahi campaigners planned to hold a meeting to discuss whether or not to throw their weight behind the demand. Unofficial vote counts have put Sabbahi in third place, eliminating him from the runoff vote.  

Final official results, however, had yet to be announced as of Sunday night. As it currently stands, the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi and Shafiq are in first and second place, meaning that they are likely to face off in next month's runoff round.

On 12 May, Egypt's Supreme Administrative Court confirmed the SPEC's authority to refer the disenfranchisement law to the Constitutional Court. The latter, however, has yet to review the law per SPEC instructions.

If enacted, the disenfranchisement law would ban all members of the ousted Mubarak regime (who served within the last decade) from assuming public office for a ten-year period.

Shafiq, as the ousted president's last prime minister, would automatically be barred from the presidential contest in the event that the law is implemented. 

On Sunday evening, however, SPEC Secretary-General Hatem Bagato said the commission would "do its best" to announce final presidenital election results on Tuesday as scheduled.

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