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An Egyptian winter

By Julie Bishop - posted Thursday, 19 April 2012

More than a year has passed since the tumultuous events involving the popular uprising and protests that removed from power long-time Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Apart from occasional eruptions of violence and sectarian clashes, Egypt has largely fallen off the radar for many western news organisations.

A much greater focus is now on Syria and the tragic events under way in that country.


Recent events in Egypt remain hugely important for the region and for the world.

After Mubarak's removal from power, an interim government was established under the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF).

The intervention of the armed forces was initially welcomed as a means of bringing greater stability to the country and to replace the civilian police, many of whom had fled their posts and were unable to restore authority over parts of the population.

The SCAF announced a timetable for elections and a transition to democratic rule, including some key elements of a redrafted constitution.

An attempt to delay elections until 2013 triggered a return to the streets by protestors forcing the SCAF to retreat and agree to hold presidential elections by June this year.

The call for nominations attracted 23 candidates, each with the requirement to support their application with 30,000 signatures from across Egypt.


With only weeks before the election process was to get under way, a five-member panel of judges serving as an election commission announced that it was disqualifying ten candidates, including three of the leading candidates.

This included a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood Khairat al-Shater, a conservative Islamist Hazem Salah Abu Ismail and Mubarak's former intelligence Minister Omar Suleiman.

This decision was appealed by the three candidates, with the panel rejecting that appeal.

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About the Author

Julie Bishop is the Federal Member for Curtin, Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs.

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