Egypt Holds Historic Election
Fifteen months after Hosni Mubarak was forced out of power in a popular uprising, Egypt is holdng its first-ever competitive presidential election. On May 23 and 24, 52 million eligible voters will have a chance to choose one of 13 candidates appearing on the ballot.
If no candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote, a likely runoff between the top two contenders is scheduled for the middle of June, and executive authority is scheduled to be handed over from the Supreme Council of Armed Forces to the elected president by the end of the month.
For the first time in Egypt's history, the winner of the presidential election is not a foregone conclusion.
Among the top contenders is Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, a 60-year-old liberal Islamist and former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. With a campaign that combines pro-revolution rhetoric and criticism of the military council with Islamist credentials, Aboul Fotouh has managed to appeal to a broad base of voters, building a unique coalition of support that brings together secular liberals and ultraconservative Salafis.
The diversity of his support was evident at his last major rally this weekend, held two days before a legally mandated campaign blackout went into effect midnight on Sunday. As dusk fell, thousands of Aboul Fotouh's supporters streamed into an open field at the Gezira Youth Center, located in an upscale Cairo district. Young revolutionaries in T-shirts and jeans led vigorous chants and waved flags emblazoned with Aboul Fotouh's face as groups of men in crisp white robes, long beards and shorn mustaches quietly looked on ...
Aboul Fotouh arrived at the rally by early evening to loud cheers and applause. He sat on a wide stage flanked by prominent supporters that spanned the political spectrum. Among them was Wael Ghoneim, the Google marketing executive who became a symbol of the eighteen-day uprising that ousted Mubarak; Fahmy Howeidy, an Islamist writer; Sherif Doss, a Coptic doctor; Nader Bakar, the spokesperson for the Salafi Nour Party and Rabab Al-Mahdi, a Marxist university professor who serves as Aboul Fotouh's political adviser.
Read more at NPR.