Rich Pickings for Egypt's Presidential Race: Mubarak, the Messiah, a Thief
It's probably a healthy sign of the changed times in Egypt, ripe with the promise of 'democracy' that Egypt's run up competition to the presidential elections includes some pretty bizarre candidates, vying for nomination. In past, less enlightened times, even the most qualified for the coveted role of President of this pan-Arab-esque nation would have shied away from running for presidential office in this nation that has seen just 4 Presidents in 60 years.
There's certainly no holds barred for the freedom to run for President this time round, as the choices are fairly open (and attracting quite the oddballs) at this stage of electoral procedings. Whether it's the undertaker, the Mahdi or former thief or belly-dancer, discover your pick of the outlandish candidates.
Ahead of the election itself which is scheduled for May 23-24, the nation holds its breath for the drama that has come to be expected of Egypt, with expectations of last minute surprise submissions to the draw - such as that of Mubarak himself. The very same ex-President who would have to be rolled on a gurney throughout his campaign. Yes, rumors backed by nominational figures speak of the ousted and enfeebled leader making a comeback election campaign.
Other curious or downright funny candidates in the lineup for the presidency, says Al-Arabiya "are plumbers, spies, coffee shop owners, a cleaning lady, an undertaker, a dessert chef, future forecasters, restaurant owners and an undertaker from the Nile Delta as well as two career intelligence officers."
And yet, it's not like Egypt's lifted all semblance of standards or opened up a free-for-all for its first show-case democratic election:
"Independent applicants must secure the endorsement of 30 lawmakers or 30,000 people in at least 15 of Egypt’s 18 provinces in order to run." More than 500 Egyptian people have undertaken the procedure to submit their candidacy for President, so far, and this figure inlcudes the motley crew of car mechanics to next Messiah!
Among the most colorful candidates in the presidential race, is ousted and still-standing trial ex-Prez, Husni Mubarak. From the realms of rumor, this barlely believable bid has taken a life of its own. People purportedly put the bed-ridden man who would be hard-pressed to 'stand' for anything these days, up for the vote to receive the required nominations.
Husni Mubarak's cousin, eponymously named, is among the more brow-raising entries, keen to stress that he is not a clone of of his first cousin and supports the revolution.
"Abu Shibshib", (Father of the slipper) is another candidate with ideas possibly above his station. That hs admires ex-Iraqi President Saddam Hussein for his leadership and policies, is just one of his salient traits, not to mention that he sees himself as a Muslim Caliph. Another guy in the running claims that he is the Messiah or "Mahdi Muntazar", the redeemer of Islam expected to return. If you thought this man would be coming to Israel, think again! He draws his claim to lead Egypt from his diligent efforts to rid the world of the Anti-Christ. He names himself on nomination papers submitted as the 'Mahdi'.
Another colorful candidate is the 'repentant thief' who has given up the trade after long years spent thieving. At times, this line-up reads as a Judgment Day panel of sinners and saints. There is the PE teacher with the big agenda of increase upon increases: whether its employment, salaries, to housing, to productivity and education, this man's determined to restore Egypt's dignity, under the auspices of the prais-ed Prophet himself (PBUH). This reminds us of another high profile presidential race that features candidates convinced that they are running under the Lord Almighty's good bidding.
Finally, a decrepit belly dancer and actress, propelled into the comedic side of the race by activistits on Twitter who launched a campaign to catapault her to the presidency, joins the peculiar parade. Here's a look at the curious line up of the funnier side of Egypt's presidential nominee hopefuls for President.
Do you think any one one of these oddball candidacies for President has any credibility to do the job? Has any of these good people earnt your vote or backing to stand a chance for President of Egypt, 2012? Your thoughts on these outrageous campaigns!