Some members of the Muslim Brotherhood and their families announced public support for presidential hopeful Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh, a former leading member of the Brotherhood, despite strict orders from the group not to break ranks. The Brotherhood made a public statement on Saturday that members could risk being expelled if they voted for or endorsed a different presidential candidate to the one officially backed by the group.
Nevertheless, the family of late Brotherhood leader Hassan Gouda, one of the founders of the Brotherhood in Beni Suef and member of the Guidance Office from 1982 to 2003, recently announced its full endorsement of Abul-Fotouh.
Hassan Gouda's son Tarek, a current member, stated publicly that he and his family, including his 70-year-old mother, went to the notary office in Beni Suef to submit their recommendation forms.
Tarek Gouda added in his statement that he did not care if he was asked to leave the Islamist group for supporting Abul-Fotouh, who he described as a lifelong friend of his father. "If my father were alive he would have endorsed and elected Abul-Fotouh regardless of the Muslim Brotherhood’s decision.”
Media reports have alleged over the least two days that Member of Parliament (MP) Yusri El-Bayoumi, of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), announced his full support of Abul-Fotouh as well, signing a recommendation form for the popular Islamist candidate.
Yusri El-Bayoumi has not denied these reports or that he has called on citizens to submit the relevant forms to enable Abul-Fotouh to run for presidency.
However, in a statement to Al-Badeel online newspaper, El-Bayoumi said, "I will officially endorse the candidate that the Muslim Brotherhood endorses."
Unlike El-Bayoumi, FJP MP Mohamed El-Beltagy, a leading Muslim Brotherhood figure, publically announced his personal endorsement of Abul-Fotouh during an interview on Al-Nahar TV channel on Wednesday.
The Muslim Brotherhood spokesperson, Mahmoud Ghozlan, announced a week ago that the Brotherhood would expel anyone who supports Abul-Fotouh. Later an online campaign was launched on Facebook among the Brotherhood youth called "I am a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and I will stick to the Brotherhood's decision."
After three decades of being a leading member of the Brotherhood, Abul-Fotouh was expelled in June 2011 alongside a number of his supporters, after announcing his presidential candidacy. The Brotherhood fired him over what they considered a “mutiny” against the Guidance Office and its decision that no Brotherhood member would run for presidential office.
It is not clear yet which presidential candidate the Brotherhood or the FJP will support. However, FJP Chairman Mohamed Morsi told Al-Hayat TV channel last Wednesday that the party will not back a candidate who was among the former staff of the Mubarak regime.
This means that they will not support potential presidential candidates Amr Moussa, who was the former minister of foreign affairs and Ahmed Shafiq, who was prime minister as well as the minister of aviation under Mubarak.
Morsi added in his statements that the party was studying and revising the names of the presidential hopefuls, including Abul-Fotouh and the head of the Supreme Council of the Judiciary, Hossam El-Ghariany, who has yet to officially announce his intention to run for presidency.
Morsi hinted in his statements that the presidential candidate endorsed by the FJP will win over 4 million votes.