Thursday 19 April 2012

Quick Guide: Who Are Egypt's Final 13 Presidential Candidates

Out of a total of 23 official Egyptian Presidential candidates, ten were surprisingly disqualified, including three of the strongest candidates and leading contenders (I explain in another post who they are and why they were disqualified). Below is a very quick list of who the 13 remaining candidates are. If you want more info, check the link at the bottom:

Left to right: Abul-Fotouh, El-Awwa and Sabbahy.

1- Abul-Ezz El-Hariry: leftist nominee, socialist and labour activist with a career of nearly 45 years.  He was arrested several times under Sadat in particular, and he was Egypt's youngest MP in 1976. Being one of its co-founders right after the January Revolution, he is running on behalf of "The Popular Socialist Alliance" party.

2- Mohammed Fawzy Eissa: little known law graduate and a former police officer. He is running on behalf of the "Democratic Generation Party."

3- Ahmed Hossam Khairallah: former deputy intelligence director, a surprise candidate. He came from a military background and family with strong Security-oriented credential. He joined the intelligence service until 2005 when he retired after 20 years of service, reaching the post  of Information Director. He is running on behalf of the "Democratic Peace Party."

4- Amr Moussa: former Foreign Minister between 1991 and 2001 and Arab-League Secretary-General until 2011. He is considered the front runner, though his support base appears fragile for some. He is considered by many as the "safe" candidate due to his identity as a recognised statesman, but his critics argue he was too close to the Mubarak regime, was only pushed aside when his popularity eclipsed Mubarak's, and that he appears at times to be more of rhetorician than a doer. He is running independently after obtaining more than 30,000 citizen endorsement signatures.

5- Abdel-Mon'eim Abul-Fotouh: medical doctor, former member of the Muslim Brother Guidance Bureau from 1987 until 2009, was expelled from the MB for deciding to run for President, when the MB was still committed to not fielding a Presidential candidate. He has a long history of political struggle and activism , became famous after confronting Sadat on a televised debate about the former president's crackdown on popular politics and Islamists. He is considered to be a progressive and liberal-leaning Islamist, and is a favourite of many pro-revolution voters. He is running independently after obtaining more than 30,000 citizen endorsement signatures.

6- Hisham Al-Bastawisi: former judge and deputy head of the Court of Cassation, and key figure in the Judiciary Independence Movement during the days of Mubarak. After continuous harassment and intimidatory investigations by the former regime due to his general reformist stance, as well as his and others judges' refusal to supervise the 2005 Presidential elections (which he and the others proclaimed as rigged and fraudulent) he eventually suffered from a heart attack in 2006. Even after the charges were dropped he remained under continuous intimidation and surveillance, eventually moving to Kuwait in 2008 to work there. He returned in the middle of the 18-days January revolution to participate in the protests publicly. He had also previously withdrawn from the electoral race before making a surprise comeback. He is running on behalf of the "National Progressive Unionist Rally Party." (Famously known as El-Tagammu')

7- Mahmoud Hossam El-Din Galal: born to a military family, he was a career police officer. He also worked in the UN Middle-Eastern Human Rights department from 1992-1994. He is running independently after obtaining more than 30,000 citizen endorsement signatures.

8- Mohammed Selim El-Awwa: a commercial lawyer and litigator, dubbed a "moderate islamist and political thinker", he obtained a doctorate from the School Of African And Oriental Studies (SOAS) in in 1972 on the comparative study of punishments in the Islamic and Western legal systems. His father was a disciple of the MB founder Hassan Al-Banna, and El-Awwa was instrumental in defending many MB members against the Mubarak regime.  He often differed with the MB due to primarily the doctrine of strict obedience to leadership, which he refused. He is running independently after obtaining more than 30,000 citizen endorsement signatures.

9- Ahmed Shafiq: former Egypt Civil Aviation Minister, considered as Mubarak's confidante and preferred successor, as well as being Mubarak's last Prime Minister. His candidacy is controversial given his close ties to the former regime. He has a Master's Degree in Military Sciences and a Doctorate in Military Strategy. he is running independently after obtaining more than 30,000 citizen endorsement signatures.

10- Hamdeen Sabbahy: respected Nasserist and populist candidate with a long history of student and political activism and struggle, he is also the founder of the Karama (Dignity) Party (under establishment) and head of the Karama Newspaper.  He came to light in 1977 when he confronted Sadat  about inflation in a famous televised debate with students, and was jailed many times during his career, with the last being in 2003 while he was an MP (and reportedly without the lifting of his immunity) under the charge of the illegal "organising of demonstrations" against the US war in Iraq. He is running independently after obtaining more than 30,000 citizen endorsement signatures.

11- Abdallah Al-Ash'aal: former diplomat who served in places such as Riyadh, Bahrain, Greece and Nigeria, eventually rising to head of the Strategic Planning Unit. He is also said to have authored nearly 70 books on various subjects. He formerly withdrew from the race in support of Khairat El-Shater, only to suddenly make a comeback. He is running on behalf of the Asala Salafist Party.

12- Khaled Ali: left-leaning human rights lawyer, dubbed the "Revolution's candidate", as well the youngest candidate of the list at 40 years of age. He is the founder of the Egyptian Centre For Economic And Social Rights, and is running after obtaining more than 30 endorsements from sitting MPs from either/both houses of Parliament.

13- Mohammed Morsy: member of the MB, head of the FJP (The Freedom And Justice Party, the MB's party), and dubbed by the media as Khairat Al-Shater's "backup candidate." This engineering professor and former MP is running on behalf of the FJP.

For more, please refer to this longer and detailed great guide by Ahram Online on all 23 candidates.

Note: I should update this post soon to add a picture for each candidate, as well as links to their official campaign pages.

You might also want to check out these posts:

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