CAIRO // Egypt's parliament yesterday passed a law that would ban top officials who served under Hosni Mubarak during the last decade from running for the country's presidency, a move that could potentially upset the already tumultuous race.
The law would prevent Omar Suleiman, the former vice president and long-serving intelligence chief, and Ahmed Shafik, a former air force commmander who was appointed as prime minister during Mubarak's final days, from running.
But the law could be stillborn if the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (Scaf) refuse to sign it. Under the constitutional declaration issued a month after Mubarak's resignation last year, Scaf has wide powers over new laws until the government is handed over to a new elected president.
Mr Suleiman and Mr Shafik were seen as opponents to the rising Islamist political groups in Egypt, such as the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party and Salafist Al Nour Party, who together control more than 70 per cent of the seats in the parliament.
Mr Suleiman only entered the race on the last day last month. In an interview published yesterday, he said he was running to prevent Egypt from becoming a "religious state", with all institutions controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood.
If Mr Suleiman and Mr Shafik are barred from the race, the front runners would be Khairat Al Shater, a deputy of the Muslim Brotherhoood; Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, a former Muslim Brotherhood official; and Amr Moussa, Egypt's former foreign minister.
Mr Moussa would not be banned from running because the new law only targets former top officials of Mubarak.
* With reporting from Associated Press