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Parliament, not Tahrir, now the legitimate authority, says Brotherhood leader

Muslim Brotherhood Deputy Supreme Guide Khairat El-Shater discusses domestic and international issues in the wake of Egypt's first parliamentary session

Ahram Online, Tuesday 24 Jan 2012
Khairat El-Shater
Khairat El-Shater (Photo: Reuters)
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Views: 2074

Following the opening session of Egypt's first post-revolution parliament on Monday, Al-Ahram daily newspaper spoke to the Muslim Brotherhood's Deputy Supreme Guide, Khairat El-Shater, about the Islamist group's plans to govern the country.

The Brotherhood's political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), won 47 per cent of seats in the new parliament, and its secretary-general, Saad El-Katatni, was elected its first speaker.

Regarding the significant economic challenges facing Egypt, El-Shater said he preferred to let experts deal with such issues and that the FJP would reveal its plans at the appropriate time. He confirmed that the Brotherhood discussed economic issues during a recent meeting with US diplomats.

El-Shater explained that although it is "common sense" that the FJP would lead the government, it did not expect to rule alone and would cooperate with other parties. However, he said talk of him heading the government himself was premature.

Revolutionary groups claim Egypt has no valid constitution and therefore legitimacy only emanates from the revolutionaries in Tahrir Square. El-Shater disputed this, questioning how long revolutionary legitimacy would continue and asserting that parliament is now the legitimate authority.

On the international level, El-Shater said the FJP had no plans to cancel international agreements and emphasised that any such act could lead to unforeseen consequences. He also explained that an FJP-led government would strive to maintain good relations with all countries.

Al-Azhar, the world's chief centre of Islamic learning, should stick to its role of promoting a moderate version of Islam and not become politicised, said El-Shater, in reference to the participation of growing numbers of Al-Azhar sheikhs at protests.

Commenting on Wednesday's anniversary of the January 25 Revolution, El-Shater said it would be an opportunity to celebrate its successes as well as call for further change. He did not expect violence, as some have predicted, and called on people to celebrate or demonstrate peacefully.

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