Friday, 23 March 2012

Egypt: Brotherhood U-turn

The Muslim Brotherhood has indicated it is to make a U-turn over putting forward a candidate for the presidential elections, due to take place 23-24 May. The Brotherhood Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) had originally said it would not put forward a candidate but would endorse one of those who presented himself. The spokesman for the Brotherhood, Mahmoud Ghozlan, said that the organisation now says that it cannot endorse any of those who have so far registered. But in a classic example of political doublespeak it denied reversing policy. "This is not a retreat from our former position, but rather a reaction to the ruling military council's refusal to allow us [through the Freedom and Justice Party] to form a new government."

The quandary that the Brotherhood faces is that its youth wing supports one of those who are standing, Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, who was expelled from the organisation for breaking ranks and disobeying the policy decision not to present his candidature. The organisation's hierarchy is unwilling to show any compromise over disciplinary matters, and yet faces the prospect of many of its members voting for someone who was expelled from the organisation.

The Brotherhood's guidance council is due to meet on 23 March to decide on the issue, with Khairat al-Shater, the group's financier, considered the front runner. He would appear not to be eligible, however, as he has a criminal record: he was convicted of providing university students with military training.

For more news and expert analysis about Egypt, please see Egypt Politics & Security.

© 2012 Menas Associates

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