The deputy head of the Salafist Call, Yasser El-Borhamy, has said that the group and its political wing, the Nour Party, will judge which candidate to support in the upcoming presidential elections based on a number of factors.
El-Borhamy explained during an interview with Aswat Masriya that candidates' stances on Islamist groups and factions will be a major factor.
The vision of the candidate on how to deal with issues related to Shias, the Sufi movement, Salafist factions, and extremist militant groups is important.
A growing anti-Shia rhetoric appeared under the rule of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, who hails from the Muslim Brotherhood. Four Shias were killed by a mob in June last year, in a move blamed on local Salafist sheikhs, while Salafist parliamentarians expressed misgivings over Morsi's plans to restore diplomatic ties with Shia-majority Iran and to encourage Iranian tourists to visit Egypt. One MP went as far as branding Shias "more dangerous than naked women" and a threat to national security.
The candidate’s stance on Al-Azhar and intention to energise its role is another factor, El-Borhamy said, voicing different sentiments than under Morsi’s rule, when the institution was often criticised by Salafist and Brotherhood figures.
The cleric, who has been a prominent supporter of the post-Morsi transitional roadmap, also said the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam – which Egypt’s government has said could reduce Egypt’s share of the Nile water -- was a key issue, as was facing jihadists in Sinai.
Other factors are the candidate’s plan to end Egypt's economic crisis and whether the presidential team would be diverse and representative of all political groups.
So far, leftist leading figure Hamdeen Sabbahi is the only presidential candidate who has officially announced he will run. Army chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, who is widely tipped to be Egypt's next president, is yet to announce whether or not he will be a candidate.