The Supreme Electoral Commission (SEC) found controversial steel tycoon Ahmed Ezz’s application to run in the 2015 parliament incomplete regarding financial documents on Sunday morning.
The SEC therefore refused the application for the prominent figure under former President Hosni Mubarak’s regime, a move which made quickly made news headlines.
Ezz is still involved in a pending retrial in a case in which he is accused of illicit gains through a seizure of the shares of Ezz Dekheila Steel Company. He did not face any obstacles in applying due to his legal status, since he has not been charged. However, he failed to submit a bank statement, as per legal requirements.
The SEC’s conditions to apply for the elections stated that each candidate must open a bank account for the electoral money transfers, which in Ezz’s case has been frozen.
According to a 2011 prosecution order freezing Ezz’s assets, he is unable to freely manage expenses. The ban reportedly also applies to his wife Shahinaz El-Naggar, also an active politician and potential candidate for the 2015elections.
There have been no reports however regarding the refusal of El-Naggar’s application, as she is running as an independent representing the Manial and Old Cairo constituency. The Cairo district has two available parliamentary seats. El-Naggar’s electoral campaign has been ongoing mainly through a campaign promoting solving and improving citizens’ medical services.
Ezz submitted his application hoping to represent the Sadat constituency, the largest district in the governorate of Menufiya, among widespread public controversy. The constituency will have one representative member in the parliament, elected as an individual, either as an independent candidate, or as part of a political party.
The Free Egyptians Party (FEP), led by business tycoon Naguib Sawiris, has vowed to escalate competition against members of the former National Democratic Party (NDP), backing up Samy El-Mashad, a 53-yar-old pharmacist.
Mahmoud Reesh, FEP’s candidate for the constituency of Menuf, the capital of Menufiya, expressed his satisfaction regarding Ezz’s rejected candidacy. He added that local residents were also happy to hear the news, in comments to Daily News Egypt on Sunday.
The party had also sought to back up candidates running against El-Naggar. An inside source previously informed Daily News Egypt, on condition of anonymity, that FEP could even back popular singer Mostafa Kamel, if that means destabilising El-Naggar’s position.
FEP’s candidates, including senior party member Emad Gad, who joined the party ahead of the parliamentary elections, happens to be a major candidate and spokesperson for the electoral coalition “For the Love of Egypt”.
The coalition, led by former military official Sameh Seif El-Yazal is believed to be informally backed by the government, as it includes several old-regime figures and security men. It is also derived from a project initially suggested by former prime minister Kamal El-Ganzoury.
On the other hand, rivalry for that district in particular, and for Menufiya, also includes Salafi Al-Nour Party candidates, namely university professor Gehad Abdel Zaher, who represents the party’s secretariat in the Sadat district.
According to senior party member Salaah Abdel Maaboud, also a Menufiya candidate, he was also happy with Ezz’s exclusion, but said he felt positive about Al-Nour’s competition in the district, affirming that Abdel Zaher’s winning chances are high.
Ezz can file an official appeal against his rejection, as the SEC and the Administrative Court are expected to look into all appeals concerning candidates within two days from announcing the final list of accepted candidates Sunday.
“I expected that Ezz would be rejected, but that is not an issue in itself, because there has been a lot of fuss about his candidacy, despite that frankly speaking he is not the worst of corrupted politicians running for the parliament,” said AB, a citizen in Menufiya who supports the Muslim Brotherhood, and will not vote in the elections.
Reesh told Daily News Egypt that one of the candidates competing in the Sadat district represents the “hidden face of the Muslim Brotherhood”. He said that they are seeking to go back to political life, following a wide crackdown since July 2013.
Additional reporting by Adham Youssef and Aya Nader