Hundreds preparing for Egypt poll
CAIRO - The Associated PressFrom plumbers to lawyers, dessert chefs to retired master spies, hundreds are trying to join the race for president in what is shaping up to be Egypt’s most exciting vote in living memory.
At least 500 Egyptians have taken the first step to run for president, a sign of the excitement generated by the country’s first presidential elections in which the outcome is in doubt, election officials said on March 14. They said the 500 have obtained applications to officially declare their candidacy for the vote, which follows last year’s ouster of longtime authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak.
Beside known presidential hopefuls who have been seriously campaigning, the applicants included a wide range of obscure Egyptians in different professions like journalists, judges, lawyers and school teachers, they said. There are plumbers, coffee shop owners, a cleaning lady, lawyers, a housewife, a dessert chef, judges, lecturers, constitutional experts, restaurant owners and an undertaker from the Nile Delta as well as two career intelligence officers.
The election is scheduled for May 23-24. 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. Applicants from political parties with at least one member in parliament are exempt from these endorsements. The presidential election will be the last stop in Egypt’s turbulent transition to civilian rule. The generals, led by Mubarak’s defense minister of 20 years Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, have promised to hand over power shortly after a new president is announced on June 21.