Egypt Muslim Brotherhood names presidential candidate (AFP) AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE) By Jailan Zayan 03/31/12)
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Egypt´s Muslim Brotherhood is to field its deputy chairman Khairat al-
Shater as a candidate in the upcoming presidential election, the
group´s party and supreme guide said on Saturday.
"The Freedom and Justice Party will nominate Khairat al-Shater as a
candidate for the presidency," the FJP said on its Facebook page.
The 61-year-old professor of engineering and business tycoon will be
standing in the country´s first presidential election since a popular
uprising ousted veteran leader Hosni Mubarak last year.
The election is scheduled for May 23 and 24.
The Brotherhood´s supreme guide, Mohammed Badie, confirmed Shater´s
nomination at a news conference when he read out a brief statement
from Shater, who was not present.
"After it was decided to field my name in the presidential elections,
I can only accept the decision of the Brotherhood. I will therefore
resign from my position as deputy chairman," Shater´s statement said.
The Muslim Brotherhood had repeatedly said it would not put forward a
member for the election, but its leadership insists that Shater´s
nomination is not an about turn, but a necessary measure in the face
"There is a real threat to the revolution and to the democratic
process," said the Brotherhood´s secretary general, Mahmud Hussein.
The nomination is likely to intensify a stand-off with the ruling
Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which took power when
Mubarak was ousted in February, 2011.
The Muslim Brotherhood´s political arm, the Freedom and Justice
Party, has been pressuring the military to sack the cabinet -- which
it accuses of stalling the revolution -- and to appoint an FJP-led
But the SCAF has stood by the cabinet and its head Kamal Ganzuri,
lashing out at the Islamists over their demand.
Hussein said their demand to sack the government had been ignored,
and said there had been "threats to dissolve the parliament" which it
dominates, in reference to a lawsuit challenging the legitimacy of
the electoral process.
He said the fact that "one or more members of the former regime" are
planning to run for the country´s top job is proof that there is a
plan to bring back the old regime.
Shater´s nomination would have been unthinkable before the uprising
in January 2011, when the Muslim Brotherhood was banned and its
members were subject to periodic government crackdowns.
But the uprising turned the political order upside down, with Mubarak
in jail on murder and corruption charges and the Islamists dominating
parliament and now fielding a presidential candidate.
Shater will face competition from former Arab League chief Amr Mussa,
who registered his candidacy last week, and from former Brotherhood
member Abdelmoneim Abul Futuh who enjoys support from both young
Islamists and secular movements.
Egyptian Islamist Hazem Abu Ismail, who subscribes to the ultra-
conservative Salafi brand of Islam, launched his candidacy on Friday.
Presidential hopefuls need to either be nominated by a party
represented in parliament, get the backing of 30 MPs or collect
30,000 signatures from eligible voters in 15 provinces in order to
qualify as candidates.
But it was unclear how Shater, who received a military conviction in
2006 on charges of terrorism and money laundering, will be able to
stand without an official pardon.
At the news conference in Cairo, Badie said there were "no legal
barriers" to Shater running, but did not elaborate.
"Egypt now needs a candidate from among us who can take on the
responsibility," FJP head Mohammed Mursi told reporters, insisting
that the decision to field a candidate "is not a change of principles.
"Egypt has problems that have not been solved," Mursi said, listing
among them fuel shortages, security problems and petrol shortages.
"All this has pushed us towards the executive authority," he said.
(Copyright © 2012 Agence France Presse. 03/31/12)
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