Presidential hopeful Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh has been hospitalized after being violently beaten and his car highjacked, CNN reported, an event that may signal a bloody election campaign for Egypt's nascent democratic process.
Aboul Fotouh was being driven back to Cairo overnight when his vehicle was blocked by assailants, Egypt's state-run Middle East News Agency reported. The attackers left him with a concussion, wounded his driver, and stole his car. Both victims have been hospitalized.
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The prominent politician is a moderate Muslim popular with the Egyptian opposition. He is campaigning as an independent, and was returning from a campaign trip to Menoufia, north of Cairo, when he was attacked.
Crime has been on the rise in Egypt recently.
Aboul Fotouh has been arrested several times on political charges and was imprisoned for five years over his ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, a group banned under Egypt's former regime.
The Brotherhood, which has gained power since the ousting of longtime President Hosni Mubarak in a popular uprising last year, expelled Aboul Fotouh after he announced his intention to run for president, the Associated Press reported.
Aboul Fotouh also serves as the head of the Arab Medical Union, a group that provided critical medical help to those hurt during protests in Tahrir Square.
He is running on a three-tiered platform based on a establishing a democratic political process, securing individual rights, and reforming the judiciary.
He told Egypt's Enigma magazine that he also wants to launch a new educational initiative, saying "We need re-evaluate the educational programs and the culture surrounding education in this country," because professional education "is very important for Egypt’s revival, but it doesn’t get much respect."