Egyptian election commission on Tuesday confirmed its decision to bar ten presidential candidates, dismissing three prominent hopefuls - former vice president Omar Suleiman and Islamists Khairat al- Shater and Hazem Abu Ismail.
These disqualifications upset the political landscape five weeks before the first round on 23 and 24 May. "The commission rejected all appeals presented by the ten (candidates)," reported the official MENA news agency.
Among the remaining candidates are former head of the Arab League Amr Moussa, former member of the Muslim Brotherhood Abdelmoneim Abul Futuh and the last prime minister of Hosni Mubarak, Ahmad Shafiq.
The Commission announced Saturday it had disqualified the ten men due to irregularities in their applications. "My exclusion from the presidential race (...) is a proof that Mubarak remains in power. We will continue our peaceful struggle to finish our unfinished revolution," responded the unsuccessful candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood, al- Shater, quoted by the Twitter account of the Brotherhood.
The Muslim Brothers, however, had anticipated the decision by introducing an "alternative" candidate, the head of their party, the Party for Freedom and Justice (PLJ), Mohammed Morsi.
Al-Shater, a wealthy businessman, was dismissed because of a law stipulating that anyone who has been sentenced to prison must wait six years from the end of his sentence before gaining back his civil rights. Al-Shater was imprisoned until March 2011.
Omar Suleiman, a former intelligence chief and briefly vice president of Mubarak, was disqualified because he failed to obtain the minimum number of voter signatures in one of the 15 governorates as required by law.
Hazem Abu Ismail the Salafist can not be a candidate because his mother was granted a U.S. citizenship. The electoral law stipulates that a candidate for the presidency should only be Egyptian, as well as his parents and his wife.
Supporters of Abu Ismail met Tuesday night outside the headquarters of the electoral commission to protest against the removal of their leader.
Among the disqualified candidates also included the opponent Ayman Nour, who ran against Mubarak in 2005, for the same reasons that keeps al-Shater out of the race. Although the military has announced that it had restored his civil rights.