Egypt's presidential candidates: 2012 and now

Ahram Online, Monday 19 May 2014

Ahram Online looks back at the 2012 presidential elections where 13 candidates contested the top job, compared to two in 2014

2012 presidential candidates
The five top presidential candidates in Egypt's 2012 presidential elections: Mohamed Morsi, Ahmed Shafiq, Hamdeen Sabahi, Abdel-Moneim Abou El-Fotouh, Amr Moussa

Egypt's 2014 presidential elections are due to take place 26 and 27 May, with the coming president — the country's second since the January 25 Revolution ousted Hosni Mubarak— expected to be elected by June.

The race, which is widely expected to be less heated than that of Summer 2012, has only two candidates running: former Minister of Defence Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and founder of the Egyptian Popular Current Hamdeen Sabahi.

Before a new president is named, Ahram Online looks into what happened to the 13 candidates that contested in the 2012 presidential race.

(They're placed in order of votes gained)

1. Mohamed Morsi

The Muslim Brotherhood leader was the first to take his 85-year-old group to power after he garnered 24.8 percent of the vote in the first round and then narrowly defeated his rival, Mubarak era premier Ahmed Shafiq, by garnering 52 percent of the vote in the runoffs. 

Morsi, Egypt's first freely elected president, who was seen as a failed leader by his opponents and a betrayed ruler by loyalists, was ousted exactly one year after he took office. Since his ouster, 3 July 2013, announced by then-army chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi amid mass protests taking place nationwide, the country has been swamped with continuous unrest, including a spike in militant attacks against the police and army and a severe crackdown on the deposed president’s loyalists.

The 63-year-old Islamist is currently jailed at Al-Akrab Prison as he stands trial in several cases, including accusations of espionage during the January 25 Revolution and his alleged responsibility of the killing of peaceful protesters in front of the presidential palace in December 2012.

Protests calling for his reinstatement continue to take place, in spite of a drastic drop in numbers of protesters.

2. Ahmed Shafiq

After his defeat to the Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi, Shafiq ,who garnered 24 per cent of the votes in the first round, departed Egypt to Dubai where he currently resides.

Almost three months after his loss, Shafiq was being tried in absentia on charges that he had embezzled and squandered public funds while serving as minister of civil aviation before the 2011 revolution.

He was acquitted 7 April.

A leaked recording of the former premier was published by the pro-Muslim Brotherhood website Rassd in March, in which he said that the presidential vote would be rigged in El-Sisi's favour, so he had decided not to run.

In the recording, which went out before El-Sisi’s announcement to run in the upcoming presidential race, Shafiq said the process would be "farcical" and fixed like the 2012 presidential election in which he finished second to Morsi.

Later, he said his comments had been taken out of context and he had been speaking when speculation first emerged about an El-Sisi candidacy.

3. Hamdeen Sabahi

The dark horse and third in the first round of the 2012 presidential race is running in this year’s poll despite the widespread belief that El-Sisi, who became an icon following the ouster of Morsi, will win with an overwhelming majority.

In interview with the privately owned channel Al-Hayat, the Nasserist leader, who received 20.7 percent of the vote in 2012, said he expects to garner over 51 percent of the vote this year.

Sabahi is running in spite of his criticism of an elections law immunising the decisions of the Presidential Elections Committee (PEC) from appeal. He explained his decision to Ahram Online in March by saying that "democracy in a country like Egypt will be accomplished when we get into battles to win. Not just battles over what to include in the constitution, but battles on the ground.”

During Morsi's rule, Sabahi was a founding member of the National Salvation Front, the main coalition of opposition forces against Morsi and which is widely credited for helping to mobilise for his ouster.

4. Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh

President of the Strong Egypt Party founded after 2012 race, Abul-Fotouh, who gained 17.5 percent of the vote in 2012, announced his boycotting to this year’s race.

The ex-Muslim Brotherhood leader, who has been critical of both the Islamist group and interim authorities, said his party decided “not to take part in deceiving the people” and that it wasn't possible to run when members of his party, along with dozens of activists, are being rounded up.

“We discussed the presidential elections in our party and we found that the practices of the current regime do not indicate any kind of democratic path or respect for freedoms and human beings,” Abul-Fotouh said in March.

The former presidential candidate has been accused of opposing the current government due to his alleged loyalty to the Muslim Brotherhood.

5. Amr Moussa

Moussa, a prominent politician and former minister of foreign affairs who unexpectedly garnered only 11.1 percent of the vote in 2012, announced that he would not run this year.

Instead, he has become one of the most vocal supporters of El-Sisi's presidential bid.

The Conference Party, founded by Moussa after 2012 elections, is campaigning for El-Sisi.

Moussa was appointed head of the 50-Member Committee tasked with amending the suspended 2012 Constitution, drafted under Morsi's rule. 

The final draft of the constitution was approved by an overwhelming majority in a referendum held 18 January 2014.

Like Sabahi, Moussa, too, was a prominent figure in the anti-Morsi National Salvation Front.

6. Mohamed Selim El-Awa

El-Awa, a prominent Islamic thinker, gained only one percent of the vote in 2012.

He is currently the head of the defence team representing ousted president Mohamed Morsi.

7. Khaled Ali

The leftist lawyer and the youngest candidate in the 2012 race, who got only 0.6 percent of the vote, declared he would boycott this year's presidential election.

In a press conference 26 March, 42-year-old Ali said he “refused to participate in this farce called an election,” explaining that there would only be real presidential candidates if the election law was amended, the protest law cancelled, and jailed activists released".

8. Abu El-Ezz El-Hariri

The Socialist Popular Alliance leading member, who gained only 0.2 percent in 2012, has stepped away from the spotlight since then.

El-Hariri, a well-known member of parliament, socialist and labour activist over the past 50 years, was assaulted, allegedly by Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators, in November 2012 amid mass protests against a controversial decree issued by Islamist president Morsi.

He has accused El-Sisi of being “the candidate of the army” and described Sabahi’s decision to run as “positive.”

9. Hisham El-Bastawisi

A prominent reformist judge, who was part of the anti-Mubarak movement calling for the independence of the judiciary, El-Bastawisi, a member of the National Progressive Unionist Party (Tagammu), garnered only 0.13 percent of the vote in 2012.

He currently works and lives in Kuwait.

10. Mahmoud Hossam

A former police officer, Hossam only gained 0.10 percent of the vote in 2012.

11. Mohamed Fawzy

Voted for by 0.10 percent in 2012, Fawzy is a member of Al-Geel Democratic Party.

12. Hossam Khairallah

A former deputy director of intelligence, Khairallah got only 0.09 percent of the vote in the 2012 race.

He is a staunch opponent of the Muslim Brotherhood.

13. Abdullah El-Ashaal

The former foreign ministry official got 0.05 percent of vote in 2012.

He initially decided to withdraw in favour of Muslim Brotherhood leader Khairat El-Shater, but eventually continued to run based on an endorsement from the Salafist Asala Party. El-Ashaal later announced his full support for Morsi in the second round.

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