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The Middle East, explained

Who will be Egypt's next president?

With elections three months away, the race for Egypt's presidency is still up for grabs.
Egypt presidential elections 2012 2 17Enlarge
An Egyptian protester holds a chain as he shouts slogans against ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak outside the police academy in Cairo where his trial is drawing to an end on February 16, 2012. The verdict in the trial of Mubarak will be announced on February 22, presiding judge Ahmed Refaat said. (MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images)

Who will have the lucky chance to follow in Mubarak's footsteps and be Egypt's next president? Or... not really. 

Under increasing pressure to handover power, Egypt's military junta has again moved up the country's presidential elections, this time to May. 

But with a posse of mostly uninspiring candidates, a clear frontrunner has yet to emerge. 

  • On Thursday, local Egyptian press reported that the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) and the Muslim Brotherhood struck a deal to back Arab League chief, Nabil Al Araby - a career diplomat who served under the Mubarak regime - to be Egypt's next president. 

 

  • Earlier in the week, former Mubarak prime minister and air marshal, Ahmed Shafiq, announced he will run for the presidency. Despite "down with military rule" emerging as the anti-government protestors' most popular chant, Shafiq says Egypt needs a military man cozy with the ruling generals to ensure a more smooth transition from army rule. 

 

  • Amr Moussa, former Arab League secretary-general, is also associated with the former regime, but has so far scored highest in the polls. Rumor has it he became so popular during Mubarak's presidency, that the former dictator kicked him upstairs to the Arab League to remove him as a political threat. 

 

  • Abdel Moneim Abdoul Fotouh broke away from the Muslim Brotherhood, against the wishes of the Brotherhood leaders, to run for president in the new Egypt. Controversial Qatar-based Egyptian cleric, Yusuf Al Qaradawi, endorsed the liberal-minded Fotouh for president. His candidacy has drawn the ire of his former Brotherhood colleagues, many of whom now hold seats in parliament. 

 

  • Then there's Hazem Abu Ismael, the Salafi candidate big on sharia law, and definitely not a fan of the peace treaty with Israel. But he has also come down hard on the military council and their handling of the transition, often siding with the largely liberal, secular protestors. 

 

  • Selim Al Awa is also an Islamist thinker, but had hoped to secure the backing of both SCAF and the Brotherhood for his campaign. This week in London, Egyptian protestors interrupted his rally by shouting "down, down with military rule" for what they said was his support for the military council. 

 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/the-middle-east/egypt-president-race-elections