Three of Egypt's main presidential candidates have filed appeals, after the election commission barred them from running, The Associated Press reported on Monday.
The three candidates who appealed are former intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, ultraconservative Islamist candidate Hazem Abu Ismail and Khairat al-Shater of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The three were among ten candidates who were barred from running in the May election on Saturday. The Presidential Elections Commission (PEC) excluded Suleiman on the basis of the geographical distribution of the signatures on his candidacy registration. The regulations call for a candidate's application to include a minimum of 1,000 signatures from 15 separate governorates in order to qualify for the race.
Shater, who was named the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate earlier this month, was disqualified on the basis of a law stating candidates can only run for office six years after being pardoned or freed. He was released from prison in March of last year. Abu Ismail was disqualified because his mother holds a second nationality, having been a U.S. citizen.
According to AP, representatives of all three candidates filed appeals before the deadline on Monday. The election commission is expected to decide Tuesday which appeals will be reviewed, and a final list of candidates will be released April 26, just under a month before the vote, the report noted.
Abu Ismail has questioned why the election commission has not made public the documents that allegedly prove his mother held U.S. citizenship.
“I challenge them to publish any document they have,” he was quoted by AP as having said, adding the documents used against him lacked official stamps. “This is a political and legal scandal ... We will stand up to injustice and tyranny and won't ever accept an illegal and unconstitutional decision.”
On Sunday, Suleiman warned against a win in the presidential race by the extreme Muslim Brotherhood.
Suleiman, who was appointed by ex-President Hosni Mubarak as vice president in the dying days of his administration, expressed his fear that if the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate wins the election, the movement will force Israel into a war with Egypt by letting terrorists run loose in the Sinai Peninsula.
In an interview with an Egyptian newspaper Suleiman said, “I fear that incorrect judgments will push us into confrontations with Israel. The Sinai may become an area from which rockets are fired into Israel and the parties may be drawn into war.”
AP noted that Suleiman likely has little chance of winning an appeal since he cannot submit new signatures.
The report said that after the disqualifications, the front-runners in the race are former regime officials such as Amr Moussa, Mubarak's one-time foreign minister and more recently the secretary general of the Arab League, as well as an expelled Brotherhood member, Abdel-Moneim Abolfotoh.
The Brotherhood as well still has a candidate in the race, AP noted, after in nominated the chief of its political party, Mohammed Morsi, as a back-up for Shater, claiming that already there were “attempts to create barriers for some candidates.”