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Bans fuel tension ahead of Egyptian election

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Bans fuel tension ahead of Egyptian election


The decision by Egypt’s Supreme Presidential
Electoral Commission to disqualify 10 candidates from standing in May’s historic vote continues to add turmoil to an already uneasy transition to democracy.

Supporters of those excluded from the vote, which include Mubarak’s former top aide Omar Suleiman and prominent Islamists, are furious at the move, others believe it will diffuse tensions ahead of the poll.

In Tahrir Square there is mix of relief and anger:

“It’s a good decision which demonstrates the integrity of the judicial system and shows it is not being influenced by public opinion or officials. It is a relief for those who detest the remnants of the old regime and for those that fear Islamists.”

Salafist preacher Abu Ismail has been blocked from standing because his mother held a US passport, something he strongly denies. He has the backing of thousands of supporters.

“The presidential committee is not a legal body and it should not be allowed to take a final decision on this issue. If Abu Ismail’s mother is American we will stand down,” said one Salafist.

A first round of voting goes ahead on the May 23 and 24 with 13 candidates on the ballot paper a run-off is planned for June.

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