Ten Egyptian candidates barred from electionsBy BBC | Sunday, April 15 2012 at 13:56
Egyptian election officials have barred 10 candidates from standing in upcoming polls, including former spy chief Omar Suleiman and the Muslim Brotherhood's Khairat al-Shater.
Ultra-orthodox Salafi Hazem Salah Abu Ismail and long-standing opposition leader Ayman Nour were also banned.
The banned candidates have 48 hours to appeal. Thirteen candidates remain.
The move comes as a surprise and looks set to dramatically alter the race.
Many of those banned and their supporters have expressed anger over the move and large demonstrations are expected in the capital, Cairo.
A first round of elections is due in May, more than a year after former President Hosni Mubarak was ousted.
Mr Suleiman - a former ally of deposed Hosni Mubarak whose nomination has sparked protests - was apparently barred because he failed to get enough signatures to endorse his last-minute candidacy.
Meanwhile, the hopeful representing the hardline Islamists, Mr Abu Ismail, was ruled out because his mother has American citizenship.
He had earlier won a temporary court reprieve as authorities were asked to investigate his parentage.
Mr Shater, the leader of the powerful Muslim Brotherhood, was struck off the list because of a former criminal conviction. Ayman Nour, who challenged Mr Mubarak in 2005, was also banned under this rule.
The announcement comes after growing speculation over whether candidates would be disqualified. Rumours that Mr Abu Ismail would be barred have already led to protests, while questions over Mr Shater's eligibility caused the Muslim Brotherhood to enter a second, back-up candidate.
As a result, the Muslim Brotherhood are best covered, while the Salafists backing Mr Abu Ismail look to be the hardest hit.
Egypt is still governed by a military council, although parliamentary elections have taken place in the meantime. The Brotherhood-backed Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) became the largest party in parliament.
At least some of the candidates are expected to fiercely contest the election commission's ruling.
"We will not give up our right to enter the presidential race," said Murad Muhammed Ali, a spokesman for Mr Shater's campaign. "There is an attempt by the old Mubarak regime to hijack the last stage of this transitional period and reproduce the old system of governance."
The lawyer for Hamza Abu Ismail also denounced the decision.
Those said to remain include former Arab League chief Amr Moussa, moderate Islamist Abdul-Moneim Abulfotouh and former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq.
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