Radical Egypt group to back moderate Islamist candidate (AFP) AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE) 04/30/12)
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The radical Egyptian Islamist group Gamaa Islamiyya, implicated in
acts including the assassination of ex-president Anwar Sadat, on
Monday threw its support behind a moderate Islamist in next month´s
"The general assembly (of Gamaa Islamiyya) voted in favour of
supporting" Abdel Moneim Abol Fotouh, the spiritual head of the
movement Tarek al-Zomor told AFP.
The first round of voting is set for on May 23 and 24.
He said the group would ALSO look for other candidates to support,
but that if no others were found by Wednesday, its backing for Abol
Fotouh would be formalised.
Classified for many years as a terrorist organisation and banned in
Egypt, Gamaa Islamiyya has sought to enter mainstream Egyptian
politics since the popular uprising that toppled president Hosni
Mubarak in February 2011.
Gamaa Islamiyya militants participated, along with members of
Egyptian group Islamic Jihad, in the 1981 attack that killed Sadat,
It also claimed responsibility for a devastating attack in Egypt´s
southern city of Luxor in 1997 that killed 62 people, most of them
Abol Fotouh is a former senior leader of the Muslim Brotherhood which
expelled him from the movement last year because he nominated himself
when the movement planned not to contest the election.
Last week, he secured the support of the most important hardline
Islamist group, the Salafist Al-Nur party, which has around 20
percent of the seats in parliament, as well as the support of the
moderate Islamist party Wassat.
Seen as a moderate Islamist, Abol Fotouh also enjoys the support of
many young Brotherhood members who object to the Muslim Brotherhood´s
He is also well regarded by a large number of secular-minded youth
who participated in last year´s uprising against Mubarak.
Abol Fotouh´s growing support threatens to cause problems for
official Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Mursi, who risks losing a
large section of the Islamist vote to him.
Some Egyptian commentators reckon he has a good chance of making it
through to the second round run-off on June 16 and 17, possibly to
stand against Egypt´s main secular candidate, former foreign minister
and ex-Arab League chief Amr Mussa. (Copyright © 2012 Agence France
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