UK & World News
Mubarak-Era PM Cleared For Egypt Elections
The last prime minister to serve under ousted Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak has won the right to compete in the country's forthcoming presidential election.
In a surprise move, Egypt's election commission reversed the disqualification of Ahmed Shafiq who had been banned from standing as a candidate because of his ties to the old regime.
Mr Shafiq, 71, was Prime Minister for just 57 days in the final turbulent stretch of Hosni Mubarak's rule. He was forced to stand down in March 2011, just weeks after Mubarak was swept from office by mass protests.
On Tuesday, the country's ruling military council approved legislation barring anyone who had held a senior position in the last decade of the Mubarak regime - either in government or the National Democratic Party - from competing in the presidential election.
The election commission upheld Ahmed Shafiq's appeal that the new law, rushed through the Islamist dominated parliament, was unconstitutional.
The commission has referred the legislation to Egypt's Supreme Court.
Mr Shafiq, a former air force commander, will be the only pro-military candidate in next month's election and could win support from those who fear the rise of Islamists in Egypt.
Analysts believe he will take votes from the former Arab League chief, Amr Moussa, who has positioned himself as the main secular candidate.
The Islamist Muslim Brotherhood which now dominates the country's parliament is fielding its own candidate, Mohamed Mursi, who is expected to be one of the frontrunners.
Several candidates have been disqualified from the increasingly chaotic election before the first round of voting on May 23 and 24.
Mubarak's former vice president and intelligence chief, Omar Suleiman, was excluded because of a lack of endorsements, while the Muslim Brotherhood's Khairat al Shater, a millionaire businessman, was banned because of a former jail term.
Egypt's election commission is due to announce the final list of candidates later.