Abdel Moneim Abol Fotouh
Abdel Moneim Abol FotouhReuters

University students in Egypt have chosen former Muslim Brotherhood leader Abdel Moneim Abul-Fotouh as their preferred presidential candidate, according to the Egypt-based Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper.

The newspaper's website reported that Abul-Fotouh won the support of 50.9 percent of Cairo University students who took part in mock elections held at the university.

If Abul-Fotouh receives similar support also in the elections to be held later this month, he will win them in the first round, the newspaper noted.

Abul-Fotouh was followed in second place by Nasserist candidate Hamdeen Sabahi, who received 17.9 percent of the students’ votes. Sabahi was followed by Mohammed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood’s backup candidate, after its first choice, Khairat el-Shater, was disallowed by the Egyptian Elections Commission. Morsi received 5.5 percent of the votes.

The biggest surprise in the Cairo University mock elections was that Egypt’s former Foreign Minister, Amr Moussa, came in fourth place with only 5.3 percent of the votes. Moussa is considered to be one of the leading candidates in the presidential race.

A recently released poll found that Moussa was leading the race with 41.1 percent of the votes. Abul-Fotouh came in second with 27.3 percent of the votes.

Earlier this month, Moussa criticized the peace agreement between Israel and Egypt and said that “the Camp David accords were dead and buried long ago.”

“The Camp David agreements do not exist anymore,” he said. “They are an historic document whose place is on the shelf. The purpose of the agreement with Israel was to establish an independent Palestinian government, whereas today we are talking about an independent Palestinian state.”

He stressed, however, that “as long as Israel respects the peace treaty with Egypt we will do so as well, even though the primary document which governs the relationship between Israel and the Arabs is the Arab initiative of 2002.” These remarks echo similar ones he has made in the past.

Another presidential candidate, Ahmed Shafiq, has said that he would be ready to visit Israel “provided it gives something to show it has good intentions.”

Shafiq served as former President Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister. He was almost disqualified from the race because of a law barring former senior officials from the Mubarak regime from running for office.  Egypt's election commission reinstated Shafiq in the presidential race just one day after disqualifying him.

Egyptians go to the polls on May 23 and 24.