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s of people are rallying in Cairo in support of an ultraconservative Islamist presidential hopeful who may be disqualified from the race after it was announced that his mother was an American citizen.

The Egyptian election commission ruling has angered Hazem Abu Ismail’s supporters, who were marching Friday to the capital’s Tahrir Square, a focal point for protests.

Abu Ismail has said he faces a “plot.” His campaign chief Gamal Saber says that the country’s military rulers were looking for ways to disqualify the candidate.

If Abu Ismail cannot run, Muslim Brotherhood candidate Khairat el-Shater would lose his main competitor for the powerful Islamist vote.

The presidential elections end of May are the first since the fall of Hosni Mubarak in last year’s uprising.

Suleiman quits race

Egypt’s former intelligence chief appointed vice president in last days of former president Hosni Mubarak’s rule said that he will not run for presidency, Egyptian media reported late Wednesday.

Omar Suleiman said that he failed to get over all the obstacles related to the organizational and administrative requirements of candidacy.

“I tried until yesterday morning to overcome the obstacles related to the current situation and the administrative, financial and organizational demands of candidacy, but I found that was beyond my capability,” he said.

Candidates bidding for the presidency need 30,000 signatures from people or support of a party in parliament.

The quitting of Suleiman from the presidential race is expected to cause uproar among tens of thousands of his supporters.

Amr Moussa’s Jewish connections

Israeli ynet news said News websites in Egypt reported Thursday that the leading candidate in the presidential race had, what in local terms is considered to be something of a “hunchback” – a Jewish connection in the family.

Social networks and several news sites reported that Amr Moussa’s father married a woman with Jewish roots and that the senior Egyptian politician has a brother from that marriage who changed his name and is now living in Israel.

According to the reports, the father of the man who once served as the secretary general of the Arab League and as foreign minister in Mubarak’s government was married to artist Rakia Ibrahim who has Jewish roots.

AP, agencies

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