Disqualifications and the Rule of Law

The rule of law is more important than any one election. Mubarak’s corruption was rooted in the misuse of law. It is disheartening to see people reflexively reject the disqualification of candidates as “rigging” without examination of the merits of the cases.

1- Abu Ismael. This is pretty straight case. It is a silly law, but the time to challenge it was last March, not after its application. And in any case, the man supported that law, and would have supported its application against anyone but himself. No rigging there. Just a poorly reasoned law that needs change in the future.

2- Omar Suleiman. Again, if he missed the legal number, then it is a pretty straightforward case. Before complaining, critics should count the signatures.

3- Khairat El-Shater. This is less clear, as his conviction was under the Mubarak regime which could have subverted the law. He was convicted for money laundering and forming a Militia. I have seen no serious examination of the evidence one way or other. The burden of proof is on the prosecution before conviction and on the defendant after conviction. And in any case, plenty of MB members complain about the secretive way the MB runs its finances. El-Shater may have been tainted by that. The man tried to run for president with murky financial background (including a secretive arrangement with a Turkish company, itself owned by a shadowy group), and did not lift a finger to clean up a conviction of money laundering.

In short, the hysteria about the disqualifications seems unwarranted by the hard evidence. There is not a single iota of evidence openly presented that the process was rigged. Egyptian economic prosperity and political freedom hinges on cleansing the past habits of seeing conspiracies everywhere. Habits that were fostered by nearly a century of opaque politics, both by the rulers and the opposition. Egyptians are cynics not only because Mubarak and his predecessors were opaque, but also because the opposition (largely MB) was also opaque.

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