Draft amendment directly targets Suleiman candidacy, says author

A draft amendment that would prevent Mubarak regime figures from running for president targets former vice president and former spy chief Omar Suleiman in particular, the author of the draft law said.

In an interview with Dream satellite channel on Monday, Wasat Party deputy head MP Essam Sultan said Suleiman deserves to be mentioned in the new constitution as a danger to Egypt.

According to the bill, which amends the Presidential Elections Law, those who served in leading government, presidential staff, security, parliamentary and ruling National Democratic Party posts during the last five years of Mubarak’s presidency would receive a 10-year ban from serving as president, vice president, prime minister or cabinet minister.

Many observers have said the timing of the draft law proposal suggests that it targets Suleiman in particular, given that other Mubarak regime figures, such former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq and former Arab League chief Amr Moussa, had declared their intentions to run long before Suleiman did.

Sultan responded to critics who oppose the idea of a law targeting a particular person.

"It is all about how dangerous that person is," he said, adding that Suleiman is the only main figure from Mubarak's regime "to remain untouched after the revolution."

Sultan said that instead of staying at home, Suleiman decided to run for president, which means he will reinvent the ousted Mubarak regime.

Suleiman submitted his application as an independent candidate Sunday, the last day for submissions.

Mixed reports had surfaced over the last few months about Suleiman's intention to run. In a statement on Friday, the former General Intelligence Services chief said he changed his mind after mounting popular pressure to enter the race.

His move has caused a political uproar, with many fearing his nomination is an attempt to reproduce the regime of toppled President Hosni Mubarak. Others have suggested that Suleiman is the ruling military council's preferred candidate.

The primary Facebook page supporting Suleiman's candidacy urged his supporters Tuesday to maintain resilience in the face of what it called "attempts to suspicious parties to defame him through the internet and the media."

Accusing social network users of a "hysterical" attack on Suleiman, the page wrote: "We ask you to be patient. We are still a majority; never get frustrated."

Press reports have said various political groups intend to coordinate their efforts to oppose Suleiman in the presidential election.

Sultan said the failure to amend Article 28 of the Constitutional Declaration is proof that the military supports Suleiman. Article 28 stipulates that no decisions of the Presidential Elections Commission can be appealed in court. If the military council rigs the presidential election in Suleiman's favor — as Sultan believes it will — then no one will be able to appeal the results, the MP argued.

Article 28 of the Constitutional Declaration, which has governed Egypt since last March, says decisions by the Presidential Elections Commission cannot be challenged in court.

Sultan said the new draft law, which was approved on Sunday by the People's Assembly's Proposals and Complaints Committee, will be discussed on Tuesday by the Legislative and Constitutional Affairs Committee. If approved, he explained, MPs will vote on it in a general session.

Sultan stressed that if the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces fails to approve the law immediately, it will prove false Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi's assurances that the council is impartial toward all candidates.

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