Khaled Said, spokesman for the heavy weighted Salafist Front – formed after the January 25 Revolution to call for the adoption of Islamic law in Egypt – on Monday said an agreement had been in place since August for the group to support Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail's presidential bid.
The decision was "not because he is a Salafist or has an Islamic orientation, but because we haven't seen another programme like his and his ideas are the closest to our own," he added.
Speaking on the Good Morning Egypt TV show, Said went on to criticise the Salafist Nour Party for being slow to specify its criteria for a presidential candidate. He said the party would probably not support Abu-Ismail's candidacy due an agreement with the ruling military council that the next president would not have an Islamist background.
Abu-Ismail is not an extremist and has a vision to build a new Egypt, said Said.
Speaking on the same programme, the Nour Party's official spokesman Yusri Hammad said his party would support a presidential candidate after careful deliberation.
Hammad emphasised that the party would back a candidate who has an Islamic reference and has a clear programme for leading the country.
The Nour Party won more than 20 per cent of the seats in recent parliamentary elections.