CAIRO: “I’m not a revolutionary person, and am not pretending to be; however I’m demanding to apply the democracy that you all talked about during the revolution, to give me my constructional and legal right to run” said steel tycoon and prominent Mubarak-era figure Ahmed Ezz said Saturday night.
He added in a phone call with television presenter Amr Adeeb, he has “no relation” with any of the current regime figures; and that he had no contacts with any of them before taking his decision for electing.”I’m all alone.”
The High Elections Committee (HEC) decided Sunday morning to reject Ezz’s application for candidacy in the coming parliamentary elections expected in March; Ezz did not submit the requisite financial disclosure forms, instead submitting those for his wife, as he had been barred from opening bank accounts in his own name after numerous charges of embezzlement and graft.
On Saturday night the HEC deadline for the candidates to apply their required papers running for elections expired, and the committee announced that the final selected candidates will be announced Sunday.
Several negative reactions raised in the political scene after Ezz announced Feb. 8 he planned to dun, saying “Despite all the warning I received, I still want to share with the Egyptians their dream of development.”
Despite his numerous charges, Ezz was not legally ineligible to run for office; Lawyer and executive director of the Arab Center for Integrity and Transparency Shehata Mohamed told The Cairo Post earlier in February that the law cannot ban anyone from running as long as he is not convicted of a crime.
“The first verdict against him was canceled and now he is clear; this is until another final verdict by the court released either with conviction or acquittal,” he added.
Mohamed explained that if Ezz were convicted after joining the parliament, he would have to leave the post.
During his phone call with Adeeb, Ezz said that he was “surprised” by all the negative reactions towards him after announcing his intentions to run for office, especially from the “political elite figures.”
He said that his constitutional and legal right gives him the chance to run to represent Sadat city in Menoufia governorate for the 4th time, adding “The voter is supposed to make his choice.”
Ezz added that among the current candidates running for elections, “all of them with no exceptions” were members of the now-dissolved party affiliated to the Mubarak regime.”
Ezz was arrested following the January 25 Revolution; he faced charges along with the former Industry Minister Ibrahim Mohamadeen, for profiteering and misuse of public funds.
On March 2013, Ezz was sentenced to 37 years in jail. He appealed the verdict, and the case was later dropped; he was released after paying 100M EGP($13.9 million.)
In November 2014, Egypt’s Court of Cassation reduced the fine against him from 100 million EGP to 10 million EGP; however the re-trial of his case is still ongoing.
“Policy is all about the impression; and if the people choose to make revolution when I was one of Mubarak’s regime I apologize, and will always be apologizing,” Ezz told the program.