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Egypt Lawmakers Back Election Ban on Mubarak Officials

Egypt’s parliament voted in favor of a measure that would curtail the political rights of officials who served under former President Hosni Mubarak, the official Middle East News Agency reported today.

The measure would stop officials who held top posts in Mubarak’s regime during the 10 years before his ouster last February from running for the presidency or holding the post of vice president, prime minister or other senior positions, for another decade, the Cairo-based agency reported.

The draft law was sent to the country’s ruling military council, headed by Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, for review, al-Jazeera reported.

The law was submitted to parliament days after Mubarak’s longtime intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, who served as vice president in the waning days of the regime, filed his bid to run in the May 23 presidential race. Suleiman’s candidacy challenged the Muslim Brotherhood and its Freedom and Justice Party, which holds almost 50 percent of the seats in the parliament’s lower house.

The parliamentary vote reflects the antipathy toward Mubarak and his top cadre among Egyptians and suspicions that Suleiman’s nomination was backed by the military amid a brewing showdown between the generals and the Islamists that dominate parliament.

The Muslim Brotherhood planned to hold a mass rally tomorrow, under the banner of “Protecting the Revolution,” as a stand against Suleiman’s candidacy.

‘Insidious Attempts’

The march is “a response to insidious attempts that evidently aim to restore the corrupt former regime to power,” the Freedom and Justice Party said in a statement on its website today. “Those attempts are being made by certain parties whose aims and objectives are clearly obvious to all, and whose artful and treacherous games are willful, brutal and malicious.”

The law comes two weeks before Egypt’s election committee is to issue the final list of presidential nominees on April 26. Suleiman already is facing a court challenge to his nomination.

Suleiman has denied that he seeks to reinvent the old regime, describing himself in a recent interview as a soldier answering a call to duty after being moved by the encouragement of his supporters.

Suleiman has cast himself as a law-and-order candidate, running on a platform of working quickly to restore security in a country that has seen a surge in crime since the uprising that ended Mubarak’s rule last year.

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