Muslim Brotherhood Candidate Enters Egypt Presidential Race

Muslim Brotherhood Candidate Enters Egypt Presidential Race
# 01 April 2012 04:59 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. Egypt’s leading political force, the Muslim Brotherhood Islamist movement, named Khairat al-Shater its candidate to run in the May presidential elections, the movement’s leader Mohammed Badie said, APA reports quoting Ria Novosti.

61-year-old Al-Shater, the movement’s deputy leader and the top financier, was voted to become presidential candidate by 58 of 108 members of the Muslim Brotherhood’s main decision making body, the Shura (Guidance) Council.

Al-Shater immediately applied for resignation from all posts in the party “to become a candidate for all Egyptians,” Badie said.

Mohamed Morsy, head of the Brotherhood’s political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party, pledged full support for al-Shater.

“In the current situation we need our own candidate to take full responsibility for the country,” he said.

Muslim Brotherhood initially planned to abstain from the presidential race saying they are content with the majority that the Freedom and Justice Party has in both chambers of parliament and have no plans to “monopolize” power in the country.

The group’s leaders explain the U-turn by their concern about the possibility of former regime figures returning to power, namely ex-premier Ahmed Shafiq, who already declared his participation in the presidential race.

Despite the popularity and influence of Muslim Brotherhood, al-Shater’s nomination could further split the Islamist vote. Al-Shater will have to face at least two prominent Islamist presidential rivals, including a former Muslim Brotherhood leader Abdel-Monein Abul-Fottouh, expelled from the movement after announcing his presidential ambitions.

The registration of candidates began on March 10. The first round vote is scheduled to take place on May 23-24.