Who's Who in the Egyptian Presidential Race

Egypt votes for a new president on May 23 and 24, with a runoff expected later in June. Here is an overview of some of the major candidates of the 13 in the running.

Egypt, Cairo, Sultan Hussan Mosque at sunset
Nabeel Turner | Stone | Getty Images
Egypt, Cairo, Sultan Hussan Mosque at sunset

Amr Moussa

Opinion polls of late show him as among the favorites for the top job. The 76-year-old is well-known in international circles as a statesman, following a 10-year tenure as Egypt’s Foreign Minister under former President Hosni Mubarak, and another decade as Secretary General of the League of Arab States.

When CNBC last spoke to him before the revolutionhe made no secret of his presidential ambitions. His campaign platform aims to reconnect with investors and capitalize on global links to finance the budget deficit. He also supports increasing the independence of the Central Bank.

Abdul-Moneim Aboul-Fotouh

He is another strong contender for the presidency, according to recent polls. Formerly a long-time member of the Muslim Brotherhood, he was ousted due to views that were deemed too open-minded for the conservative party. He decided to run as an independent candidate, and in late April, won the endorsement of parliament’s second largest party, the radical Nour Party.

Aboul-Fotouh, 61 years old, is a medical doctor by profession. He has repeatedly argued the West should not fear Islamist rule in the country’s nascent democracy. He has not objected to investments from abroad, but will pursue reforms in taxation and subsidies.

Ahmed Shafik

He is a former Commander in the Egyptian Air Force and Mubarak’s last Prime Minister. Before his short stint as PM, he spent nine years as Minister of Civil Aviation.

During his tenure, he oversaw an ambitious restructuring and the construction of a new airport in a bid to bolster tourism. Shafik, who is 71 years old, cites his “administrative experience” as a competitive advantage. Part of his economic plan is to revitalize the Suez Canal by expanding free zones and encouraging ancillary activities.

Mohamed Mursi

He is the official candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP). Mursi, 61 years old, was not the FJP’s original choice, and was fielded after Khairat El-Shater was disqualified by the election commission for past criminal convictions.

The FJP currently has the largest representation in parliament and is working on legislation to allow Islamic bond sales to help plug the budget deficit. Mursi also intends to revise trade tariffs and while foreign investors are important, they are “not a priority.”

Hamdeen Sabahi

He is co-founder of the Karama (Dignity) Party and former two-term Member of Parliament. The 58-year-old is a proponent of Nasserim.

He has called for wide-ranging reforms in the agriculture, industry and services sectors, with the firm belief that it could propel the country to annual economic growth of 10 percent. Sabahi is also keen on promoting labor and consumer rights. And as much as he plans to revisit privatizations of the Mubarak era, nationalizations are not on the table.

Other Candidates:

  • Mohamad Fawzi
  • Hossam Khayrallah
  • Abdallah Al-Ashal
  • Hisham El-Bastawisi
  • Mohamed Selim El-Awwa
  • Khalid Ali
  • Abu Al-Izz El-Hariri
  • Mahmoud Hossam


Yousef Gamal El-Din is CNBC's Middle East Correspondent and contributes to the channel’s flagship shows, as well as analysis for CNBC.com.

Stay in touch with him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/youseftv@youseftv