The Muslim Brotherhood and its political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP)
, will start a two-day deliberation on Saturday to discuss who they should support in Egypt's first post-Mubarak presidential elections.
If all goes well, this session might override what the FJP had previously declared: that they would not announce a candidate until the window to submit applications was open (now on 10 March). However, FJP media consultant, Ahmed Subei confirmed to Al-Ahram Arabic portal that the purpose of the 48-hour discussions is to pick their candidate.
The Brotherhood and party representatives will then meet with their candidate-to-be to confirm that they will run and discuss means of support. Presidential hopefuls need 30 signatures from MPs or 30,000 from citizens from 10 different governorates.
Speculating on candidates
Amid widespread rumours that the Brotherhood and Egypt's ruling military council are trying to convince ex-foreign minister and current Arab League Secretary General Nabil El-Araby to run for presidency, Subei told Al-Ahram carefully that although El-Araby's name is on the table, that choosing the right person for the top position is a "very complicated" piece of work.
Subei also confirmed to Al-Ahram that the Brotherhood and the FJP will not consider supporting ex-Brotherhood leader and current presidential hopeful Abdel-Moneim Aboul-Fotouh.
Aboul-Fotouh was discharged from the Brotherhood in June after he announced, without FJP approval, his intention to run for president. In fact, the Brotherhood had already decided and announced against proposing a candidate from within its own members.
Aboul-Fotouh remains the most widely supported candidate by the young members of the Brethren and a number of its leading figures.
Military or ex-military candidates will also not be on the table, stated Subei.
That also rules out, Subei specified, Mubarak's last prime minister and ex-military commander, Ahmed Shafiq, who had announced in October that he intends to run.
Adding strength to the statement, Subei recounts the details of a private meeting: a businessman and a friend of the former Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mahdy Akef invited the latter to a dinner party.
Akef discovered that the businessman had also invited Shafiq in order to discuss with Akef the idea of the Brotherhood supporting Shafiq.
In response, Akef told Shafiq he is not popularly accepted to run for president, which also reflects the Brotherhood's general stance towards supporting the ex-prime minister.
After pressure from the masses for earlier presidential elections, Egypt's current ruling military council announced at the beginning of February that the floor will open for presidential candidate applicants on 10 March. They later announced that elections will be held in late May.