Egypt's Supreme Presidential Electoral Commission (SPEC) has upheld the disqualifications of the Muslim Brotherhood's designated candidate, along with leading Islamist presidential contender, Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, and former Mubarak Vice President and intelligence chief, Omar Suleiman.
Earlier reports indicated that the Brotherhood's candidate, Khairat al-Shater, would be cleared to run. The three are among 10 candidates disqualified from next month's presidential vote. The commission, appointed by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, determined al-Shater's conviction under Hosni Mubarak's regime of belonging to a banned organization - the Muslim Brotherhood - was cause for his disqualification, Egypt's Al-Ahram reports.
The commission is "responsible for its own decisions, including the disqualification of presidential candidates" and is "not subject to judicial authorities," Al-Ahram noted. The Brotherhood hedged its bets by offering Mohamed Mursi, head of the group's Freedom and Justice Party, as a late entry into the race.
For Ismail, it is quite the fall from grace.
As we reported Friday, the staunchly Salafist candidate was polling in second place with 28.8 percent support, only trailing former Arab League Secretary Amr Moussa. His confidence soared after claiming a moral victory in the initial legal challenge to his candidacy over the question of his late-mother's foreign citizenship.
But the issue remained unresolved, and with today's ruling, it appears to finally have brought his candidacy to its end. Considering the commission's independent status, the earlier legal ruling will have little bearing on the decision.
Al-Ahram's sources say Suleiman was ruled out because he failed "to collect a sufficient number of signatures from 15 Egyptian governates." Of those he did receive, "approximately half" are said to have been "forged."
Note: This story has been updated to reflect new developments.