Muslim Brotherhood chooses candidate in Egypt's presidential race


EGYPT’S MUSLIM Brotherhood yesterday announced that it has chosen the candidate it will back in the coming presidential election.

Although he has not been named, he believed to be Mansour Hassan, who heads the council advising the country’s military rulers and who served as culture and information minister under president Anwar Sadat, the predecessor of ousted Hosni Mubarak.

Spokesman Mahmoud Ghozlan said the Brotherhood would ensure the candidate received the necessary approval of 30 members of the 508-member parliament and said he would be supported by other political forces as he had the requisite standing.

Since the Brotherhood’s political arm, Freedom and Justice, controls more than 40 per cent of the seats in the assembly, the movement can deliver. Because of its organisation at grassroots le- vel, its candidate is certain to enjoy a major advantage over rivals.

Other candidates include former Arab League secretary general Amr Moussa and former senior Brotherhood figure Abdel Moneim Abouel Fotouh, a popular personality who was expelled by the movement for disregarding a decision not to field its own candidate. Nobel laureate Muhammad ElBaradei dropped out of the contest in protest against the military’s handling of the transition.

Under presidential election law, a non-party candidate must have notarised signatures from 30,000 citizens in 15 provinces or obtain the backing of 30 legislators. The poll is set for May 23rd- 24th.

The presidential race heated up last weekend when 158 potential candidates opened formal registration procedures by requesting election commission documents.

Meanwhile, 353 proposals have been submitted for the creation of a 100-member assembly to draft Egypt’s new constitution.