Egypt refers ban on presidency candidates to court
CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt's military rulers have asked the constitutional court to rule on whether top officials from Hosni Mubarak's era can run for the presidency, a judicial source said on Thursday, after the Islamist-dominated parliament passed a law banning them.
Last week's new law must be passed by the ruling military council to take effect.
MPs drafted the legislation in response Mubarak spy chief Omar Suleiman's decision to run for the presidency. Suleiman has since been disqualified on the grounds that he failed to secure enough voter endorsements to run.
The legislation, if approved, could disqualify former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq - in power during Mubarak's last days.
The Supreme Constitutional Court is expected to issue its ruling within 15 days. A minister in the army-appointed government last week described the law as "a deviation" that targeted one or two people.
The presidential election starts on May 23 with two days of voting and is expected to go to a June run-off between the top two candidates. Front-runners include the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Mursi, former member of the Islamist group Abdel Moneim Abol Fotouh and former Arab League chief and Egypt's foreign minister for a decade, Amr Moussa.
The legislation, an amendment to the law governing political rights, covers anyone who served in a list of top positions in government and the ruling party during Mubarak's last decade in power. The list does not include the position of minister, meaning it does not threaten Moussa's bid.
Activists have called for mass protests on Friday against senior officials and politicians who served under Mubarak and the military council's handling of the 14 months since he was removed from power by an uprising.
The generals are due to hand power to the new president by July 1 and have been governing with Mubarak's presidential powers, giving parliament limited authority, though the chamber was elected in Egypt's most democratic election in six decades.
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