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News Link • Voting and Elections

Top contenders fight to stay in Egypt election

•, By Yasmine Saleh and Dina Zayed
 The election is seen as the last step to democracy after more than a year of unstable army rule since Hosni Mubarak was overthrown by a street revolt. The generals are due to hand power to the new president by July 1 but the latest drama saw new accusations they were trying to prolong their influence. 

Mubarak's former spy chief Omar Suleiman drew an outcry from opponents of the old regime when he entered the race last week, only to be told late on Saturday that he had failed to secure enough signatures in one province to run.

  Two leading Islamist candidates were also disqualified, one because he has a criminal record - dating from what was widely seen as a political trial under Mubarak - and the other because his mother had taken U.S. citizenship, state media said. 

All three have 48 hours to appeal to the state election committee against their exclusion. If their elimination is confirmed, it would redraw the electoral map just weeks before the vote gets under way in May.

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