April 8, 2011 Special Dispatch No. 3751

Egyptian Presidential Candidates

April 8, 2011
Egypt | Special Dispatch No. 3751

The Egyptian presidential elections are expected to be held toward the end of 2011. Egypt's past presidential elections have featured a single candidate, to be approved or rejected by the public. Now, however, the recent amendments to the constitution and laws allow multiple candidates, and numerous figures from diverse sectors have indeed declared their intention to run.

Below is a list of all those who have thus far presented their candidacies, in no particular order.

Mohamed ElBaradei – Former IAEA Director-General (1997-2009). ElBaradei is considered to be a liberal candidate, but during the anti-Mubarak revolution he struck an unofficial political partnership with the Muslim Brotherhood. He opposed the recent amendments to the Egyptian constitution, and demands the postponement of the parliamentary elections in order to allow political forces other than the Muslim Brotherhood and the NDP to organize. He has been critical of Israel, and continuously demands to open the Rafah border crossing.

Hisham Al-Bastawisi – An Egyptian judge who enjoyed the support of the young liberal circles during the revolution. In 2005, he led the campaign of the Egyptian judges against the Mubarak regime. Al-Bastawisi has declared that significant parts of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty should be renegotiated, and is opposing any amendment to the controversial second article of the Egyptian constitution, which states that the Shari'a is the basis for legislation.

'Abdallah Al-Ash'al – Former Egyptian deputy foreign minister. Al-Ash'al is affiliated with pan-Arab circles and writes regularly for the Muslim Brotherhood website.

Hamadein Sabahi – One of the founders of the Al-Karama ("Dignity") party. Sabahi, who holds pan-Arabist, Nasserist views, was elected to parliament in the 2000 and 2005 elections. He is a staunch opponent of the peace treaty with Israel, and wishes to improve Egypt's relations with Turkey and Iran.

Anis Al-Dgheidi – A relatively unknown Egyptian journalist. During the recent Coalition campaign to enforce the no-fly zone over Libya, Al-Dgheidi traveled to Libya and appeared several times on Libyan TV in support of Mu'ammar Al-Qadhafi and his regime. In these interviews, he claimed to have rejected an offer by U.S. President Barack Obama to become his personal advisor, but said that President Obama had been consulting with him on Middle East issues for a long time. He claims to have published 54 books, the most recent, The General of Freedom, focusing on Al-Qadhafi.

General Muhammad 'Ali Bilal – The first figure with a military background to announce his intention to run for president. Bilal served as commander of the Egyptian military force in Kuwait during the first Gulf War. He supports the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, on the grounds that it is in the interests of both countries. Nevertheless, he said he would try to amend the treaty in a way that would maintain bilateral relations.

Dr. Hamed Al-Hamed – Claims to be a NASA scientist. Al-Hamed lived for 18 years in the U.S., but does not have U.S. citizenship. He calls to abolish the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty on religious grounds "at the appropriate time." Al-Hamed believes that the Islamic state established by the Prophet Muhammad embodied the notion of "civil state."

Tawfiq Okasha – Owner of Al-Faraeen TV, a former member of the NDP and its Policies Committee under Gamal Mubarak. Okasha was elected to parliament in 2010.

'Amr Moussa – Secretary-General of the Arab League and former Egyptian foreign minister.

Ayman Nour – Head of the Al-Ghad ("Tomorrow") Party. Nour was imprisoned in 2005 on charges of falsifying documents, and was released in February 2009. Nour, who opposes the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, calls for a referendum on it. He said he would select a woman or a Copt as his vice president.

Dr. Sadeq Radhwan – Economics expert and consultant and on the advancement of developing countries. The 46-year-old Radhwan divides his time between Egypt and Germany.

Dr. Maher Sami Hashem – Consultant in administration and economics. Hashem stated that he wishes to improve Egypt's relations with the Nile River Basin countries and all the neighboring countries, "especially Palestine." He said he opposes revoking international treaties, but would adopt a policy of imposing impossible conditions that would force the other party to revoke the treaty themselves. His campaign slogan is "Yes, We Will Be."

Magdi Hussein – Secretary-General of the Islamist Al-'Amal ("Labor") Party. He stated that confronting Israel would top his political campaign for the presidency. Hussein was incarcerated in Egypt after crossing into Gaza through a tunnel.

Magdi Hatata – Former Egyptian Chief of Staff (1995-2001). Hatata is running as an independent candidate.

Sameh 'Ashour – First deputy head of the Nasserist Party. He is running as representative of his party.

Wissam 'Abd Al-Gawwad – A 44-year-old geography teacher, who demonstrated at Al-Tahrir Square. Founded the Egyptians for Change association, and the Al-Nahhar party, which has 3,400 members to date. Due to a lack of funds, 'Abd Al-Gawwad recruits support in cafes.

Midhat Khafaji – Deputy head of the Al-Ghad ("Tomorrow") Party (whose head, Ayman Nour, is also running). Will be running as an independent candidate.

Ahmad Shobair – Former goalkeeper of the Egyptian national soccer team. Shobair hosts a sports show on an Egyptian TV channel.

Dr. Muhammad Muqbil – Owner of the Al-Badr TV channel. Muqbil's elections slogan is "Justice-Freedom-Revival." He wishes to amend the Camp David Accord so that it would "realize peace and justice." Muqbil also wants to bring about pan-Arab unity and establish the "United Arab States."

'Adel Fakhri Danial – Founder of the Istiqama Party, and Egypt's first Coptic presidential candidate. He said that the first article in his platform would be the abolishment of the Camp David Accord. Danial stated that he did not wish to revoke the second article of the constitution, which states that Islam is the basis for legislation, but that he wanted to add the phrase "and the other monotheistic religions" to it.

Hussein Abd Al-Razeq – One of the leaders of the Communist Al-Taggam'u Party.

Anas Al-Wugud Aliwa – Egyptian author. Stated that she believed women could succeed in the elections, because they constitute half the population.

Osama Al-Hilwani – A lawyer who serves as chief prosecutor in the Shubra Al-Kheima region.

Buthaina Kamel – An Egyptian TV host, member of the Kefaya movement, which opposed the Mubarak regime. Kamel said that she did not believe the Egyptians really opposed the idea of being led by a woman.

Mustafa Sadeq – Independent candidate. Demands that the monthly salary of the Egyptian president, ministers, and other officials should not exceed 20,000 Egyptian pounds. Sadeq calls to restrict the age of ministers to below 55. He also wants to make Egypt a neutral state "like Switzerland," which would develop "like China."

Muhammad Muhi Al-Din – Lecturer in engineering at an Alexandria university. He declared his intention to run for president in 2009, long before the revolution. His slogan is "Yes, We Can Turn Egypt into a Superpower."

Hamdi Tahhan – Former pilot and the former head of the transportation committee in the Egyptian parliament.

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