The Muslim Brotherhood might make a policy U-turn and contest May’s presidential election, senior members said on Wednesday, as the group had yet to see a name among the declared candidates it was prepared to back. The Brotherhood, which dominated the first parliamentary vote after Hosni Mubarak’s ouster last year, had said it would not run in what is billed as Egypt’s first free and fair presidential race. The first round of voting is on May 23-24. The group instead said it would endorse one of the other candidates running. Analysts said the Brotherhood did not want to run to avoid alienating those in the electorate who are wary about Islamists sweeping the new political scene. But the Brotherhood has yet to declare support for any of the candidates who have lined up so far and who include Amr Moussa, a former Arab League chief who describes himself as a liberal nationalist, and Abdel Moneim Abol Fotoh, who was expelled from the Brotherhood when he defied the ban on running.
“The Brotherhood might choose to back one of its own as a presidential candidate for Egypt given the lack of choices,” Medhat Hadad, a member of the group’s Shura Council which decides on policy, told Reuters. “Of those who applied already, the Brotherhood has not found a presidential candidate it is willing to support,” he said.
Of the nearly 1,000 candidates who have so far requested applications only three have formally submitted documents to run. Political parties in parliament can field one candidate, while independents need the backing of at least 30 members of parliament or the support of 30,000 Egyptians across the nation.