The judicial panel responsible for the Egyptian presidential elections has confirmed the disqualification of three of the ten candidates ruled out of the race by the Higher Presidential Election Commission. The three candidates, former intelligence head Omar Suleiman, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate Khairat al-Shater and the hardline Salafist Hazem Abu Ismail, were front-runners in the election. Suleiman, who served briefly as vice-president to deposed leader Hosni Mubarak, played a leading role in the Egyptian-Israeli bilateral relationship.
The disqualifications are likely to help the campaign of Amr Moussa, the former Egyptian foreign minister and former Secretary-General of the Arab League. He has previously said that, whilst he would not cancel the Israel-Egypt peace treaty, he would support a review of the treaty’s security annex. Whilst the Muslim Brotherhood is running a second presidential candidate, Mohammed Mursi, an independent Islamist, Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, could benefit more from the disqualification of al-Shater. Seen as a moderate Islamist, Fotouh has avoided commenting on the peace treaty, and is aiming his campaign at Egypt’s youth who are impatient for economic and social reform.
The final list of candidates will be published next week, with the election scheduled for May 23 and 24. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which has ruled Egypt since the overthrow of Mubarak last year, is scheduled to hand over power to the new president on July 1. However, there has been talk that the SCAF will delay presidential elections until a new constitution is agreed, which could take several more months.