Egypt’s presidential election committee ruled today that ten candidates were ineligible to run for the upcoming elections.
The new is particularly significant since three of the candidates are serious contenders for the office of the presidency:
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The commission removed Omar Suleiman, the former spy chief under d Hosni Mubarak. This author correctly predicted that Suleiman would be named the successor to Mubarak, although this lasted for a remarkably short time. Suleiman has been rejected by the committee because he lacked enough authenticated signatures to run.
Khairat Shater is the candidate of the radical Muslim Brotherhood. The Brotherhood controls 47% of Parliament, and decided to run for the Presidency despite a previous promise not to field a candidate. He has been disqualified due to a prior criminal conviction, serving jail time for terrorism and money laundering.
Hazem Salah abu Ismail, a fanatic Wahabi candidate, is a member of the Salafi party, which controls 25% of the parliament and has been declared ineligible to run. The committee banned Ismail, after they confirmed that his mother was an American citizen. According to Egyptian law, both parents have to be Egyptian citizens to be eligible to run for office.
According to a recent poll conducted by Egypt’s ahram newspaper, the http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/36/122/38890/Presidential-elections-/Presidential-elections-news/Moussa-still-leads-presidential-race-at–pct,-but-.aspx
Amr Moussa is leading with 31.5% of the vote, Abu-Ismail, is in second place with 28.8%, Suleiman held 8.2%, and El-Shater had 1.7% of the vote.
Amr Moussa is the former Arab league representative under the Mubarak regime. Despite his portrayal as a moderate in the Western media, Moussa has made statements justifying the deliberate murder of children.
This week rumors to discredit Moussa have spread that he has Jewish blood. This likely will not affect his performance in the polls, as he has fanatically denied the rumors.
Moussa seems to be the winner since Ismail is disqualified, but it could make change the dynamics of the race. According to the same poll, voters said that if Abu-Ismail was disqualified, 32% would vote for Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh, and 29.3% would vote for Amr Moussa.
Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh spent time in prison but has not been disqualified by the committee. Fotouh had been expelled from the Muslim Brotherhood due to his decision to run on his own, when the Brotherhood was not fielding a candidate.
We predicted in early 2011 that Moussa would be president and the Muslim Brotherhood would be the largest party in Parliament. However, events are unraveling in Egypt, which are dramatically changing the equation.
The elections are currently scheduled for five weeks from today. We think that the elections might not be held at all. This is similar to what happened in Algeria in 1990, when the military took over to prevent an Islamic sweep in the elections.
On Friday, thousands of supporters of the Salafi party, marched into Cairo’s Tahrir Square to protest Suleiman’s candidacy. Protestors further stated that they would not accept Moussa or Suleiman as President.
Moussa served in the Mubarak regime but did not have cozy with the ruling party. Suleiman was Mubarak’s right hand man and only announced his intention to run last week. It is likely that the army encouraged Suleiman to run in an attempt to prevent the Salafis from winning and destroying the country.
The army is the most powerful institution in Egypt. As the situation in the country, has gotten worse beyond the most pessimistic predictions, the Army is scared of fanatics taking over the country. They fielded Suleiman, as someone who would keep the fanatics in Parliament in check.
The author of this article has spoken to someone who has had a close relationship with the leaders of the military for several decades. He stated that the Army is moderate, but at times has to appeal to the populists with rhetoric and actions against Israel and America.
The Army controls a large segment of the economy. They fear that a candidate such as Ismail will destroy the economy and try to take power from them. The army is facing the possibility of Abul-Fotouh winning the presidency. If Fotouh wins, it is possible that the Army would launch a coup and dismiss the president and dissolve Parliament.
However, right now it is 6am in Egypt. Tomorrow could see an enormous demonstration by the islamists against the ruling. We do not rule out violence, or a possible civil war. Abu Ismail’s lawyer, Nizar Ghorab, told Reuters today that he expected “a major crisis” in the next few hours.
For those who think these predictions are outlandish, we encourage them to view the author’s previous articles about Egypt going back to early 2010. The New York Times and many other large publications were utterly wrong.
The next few hours and days will be crucial to what happens. If unrest does not break out, we expect it to when the winner of the presidency is announced. If the elections take place and Moussa wins, the Islamist will take to the streets, and if Abul-Fotouh does, the military will likely intervene.
The future of Egypt does not look encouraging , to say the least.