The number of candidates in Egypt’s presidential election has been almost halved to 13, and an appeal by10 candidates who were barred has been rejected by the election panel.
Some have welcomed the Electoral Commission’s decision, particularly those who have seen the odds on their favoured candidate improve dramatically.
Supporters of Amr Moussa, the former head of the Arab League, have launched his campaign just hours after the Electoral Commission confirmed that 10 candidates were excluded from running for president.
He is now one of the front-runners, the most prominent of those campaigning on a purely secular ticket, and one who may well pick up the many votes that were likely to go the way of the former intelligence chief, Omar Suleiman, who is vigorously opposed to any religious influence in politics.
But many in the political centre are also likely to vote for Abdelmonim Abolfotouh, a former member of the Muslim Brotherhood who’s idea of an Islamic state is one that is moderate, tolerant and inclusive of all regardless of their religion.
The candidate of the country’s most powerful political force, the Muslim Brotherhood, is now Mohamed Morsi, who was drafted in at the last moment when it became clear that the movement’s first choice, Khariat El-Shater, would be excluded.
Al Jazeera’s Mike Hanna reports from Cairo.