Egypt´s Muslim Brotherhood Names Presidential Candidate (INN) ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) By Elad Benari 04/01/12)
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The Islamist Muslim Brotherhood movement in Egypt named its chief
strategist and financier as a candidate for president on Saturday,
despite earlier pledges to stay out of the race.
The Brotherhood, outlawed during the regime of former President Hosni
Mubarak, already controls about half of the seats in parliament.
The Associated Press reported that the presidential nominee is the
groupís deputy leader, Khayrat el-Shater, a multimillionaire
businessman who has played a key role in guiding the group through
the tumultuous transition since the Mubarakís ouster last year.
AP noted that because of the Brotherhood´s success in the
parliamentary vote and the reach of its grassroots political
organization, the candidate it nominates or backs will be considered
the frontrunner in the race for the May 23-24 vote.
If el-Shater wins the Brotherhood would completely dominate the
political arena and could push for changes such as stricter adherence
to Islamic law. A Muslim Brotherhood government could also translate
into rockier relations with Israel and the United States.
The Muslim Brotherhood recently denied that it plans to uphold the
peace treaty with Israel, after U.S. State Department Victora Nuland
told said that the Muslim Brotherhood had assured Washington it would
uphold extant diplomatic accords, including the 1979 Egypt-Israel
The candidate was announced at a Cairo news conference and ended
weeks of speculation and confusion within the group.
Mahmoud Hussein, the group´s deputy leader, was quoted by AP as
having said the decision to run a candidate was made in the face
of "attempts to abort the revolution," after the military council
refused several requests by the Brotherhood to appoint a government.
El-Shater, who is in his early sixties, joined the Brotherhood in
1974. He has been jailed four times for a total of seven years on
charges relating to his membership in the Brotherhood, which was
outlawed more than 50 years ago.
AP noted that he is seen as the iron man within the group, the one
who steers talks with the military council, orchestrator of
parliamentary elections and the negotiator with Arab Gulf countries
and International Monetary Fund over loans.
El-Shater will go up against other candidates with greater name
recognition and a stronger television presence, such as ex-Arab
League chief Amr Moussa.
The announcement comes at the end of a week in which the Islamists´
public power struggle with the country´s ruling generals escalated.
On Thursday, the Muslim Brotherhood-led parliament began drawing up a
no-confidence motion against the military-appointed government.
The Islamists have also been squabbling with liberal and secular
groups over the commission that is to draw up the nation´s new
constitution. After the Brotherhood took a clear majority on the 100-
member body for itself, 25 other members resigned.
Liberals fear the Islamists plan to impose their religious agenda on
the constitution, while Islamists say liberals are a minority who
have no popular support.
Relations between the military and the Brotherhood have deteriorated
in recent weeks, as the fundamentalist group has pushed for the army
to fire the Cabinet for alleged incompetence. The Brotherhood wants
to form a new government, a task it claims is urgent because of
Egypt´s deteriorating security and economic situation.
(IsraelNationalNews © 2012 04/01/12)
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