Last-minute Egypt presidential hopefuls to submit paperwork on Sunday deadline

Ahram Online, Sunday 8 Apr 2012

Egypt's presidential electoral commission closes the door for applications today at 2:00pm, with several pivotal candidates still due to submit their paperwork

The president adds
A man walks past a banner publicising the presidential election in Cairo April 5, 2012. The words on the banner read: "The President". (Photo: Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

The Supreme Presidential Electoral Commission (SPEC) supervising Egypt's presidential elections is expected to close the door to any new candidate applications by the end of Sunday. Meanwhile, more candidates are still expected to hand in their required documents to officially register in the race.

Known figures expected to show up at the commission on the final day of application include a Muslim Brotherhood second candidate, Mohamed Morsi; former head of intelligence Omar Suleiman; rights lawyer Khaled Ali and the Islamist Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya's party has also been considering filing Safwat Hegazi as their candidate.

It is yet unclear who of all those who have filed their required documents will be found legally qualified to run. Three particular candidates are expected to face legal complications, including the Brotherhood's Khairat El-Shater, liberal candidate Ayman Nour and Salafist figure, Hazem Salah Abu Ismail.

There is a chance that both El-Shater and Nour may not be found eligible considering they've been in prison for criminal charges. Although both have received pardons, which has enabled them to pursue their political aspirations, an ongoing legal debate suggests they may still not be able to run during this presidential term if their pardon is considered to have been issued too late. Consequently, the Brotherhood is expected to file papers for another one of their members, namely Morsi, as a backup, just in case El-Shater gets rejected by the commission.

Salafist candidate, Hazem Abu Ismail is also in danger of being deemed not eligible after Egypt's foreign ministry claimed on Saturday that Ismail's mother was a US-Egyptian (dual) citizen. If this is confirmed to be true, it would automatically disqualify Ismail from entering the presidential race according to electoral rules that state a candidate, nor either of their parents, can hold any other citizenship.

While Khaled Ali's legal status seems to be untainted, the young candidate, until recently, faced problems collecting the required documents necessary for him to run. Ali, who failed to obtain 30 thousand recommendations is said to have found the required minimum 30 MPs to endorse him, instead. With 32 MP recommendations under his belt, he is expected to hand in all his paperwork on Sunday to the SPEC.  

In order to be nominated, candidates must secure the support of 30 elected MPs or the recommendations of 30,000 voters from at least 15 Egyptian governorates (provinces) with no less than 1000 recommendations per governorate, or nomination by a party holding at least one seat in legislature. The minimum requirements for nomination must be obtained and handed in to the electoral commission before 8 April, 2:00pm.

The presidential election will be held in Egypt on 23 and 24 May 2012. If no candidate garners more than half the vote in the first round, the top two candidates will face one another in a runoff on 16-17 June.

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