Leading Muslim Brotherhood member Khairat El-Shater on Monday held his first press conference as an official presidential candidate, at which he called for a genuine "national renaissance project" in Egypt.
"We encourage all Egyptians to work towards building a modern state," he was quoted as saying on the group's official website (ikhwanonline.net). "Serious effort must be expended to ensure that we develop as a society."
"A stable political system will allow for the improvement of the country's economic situation," El-Shater added, stressing the urgent need to reform Egypt's security apparatus and restore security on the country's streets.
He went on to voice reluctance about supporting a single Islamist presidential contender, saying that the general public should be afforded the chance to choose from among multiple candidates.
The ultimate objective of the Muslim Brotherhood and its associated Freedom and Justice Party, added El-Shater, was to promote the "Islamic project" in Egypt. "That's why the people voted for us," he said.
In reference to fellow Brotherhood members who had faced jail time and torture under the ousted Mubarak regime, El-Shater stated: "We've faced considerable sacrifices and stiff prison sentences. We have given much for the good of our country."
He went on to stress the importance of pursuing comprehensive economic development and combating the corruption that remains widespread in Egyptian society. He also stated that considerable effort would have to be expended to encourage investment in Egypt, especially given the current state of the national economy.
El-Shater added that small Egyptian business enterprises – along with the Egyptian private sector as a whole – should be encouraged, while the public education system should be overhauled to ensure that future generations would reap the benefits of the anticipated "national renaissance."
While El-Shater is currently registered as a presidential candidate until a final candidate list is announced on 26 April, the possibility remains that he could be disqualified. This is due to his involvement in a number of Mubarak-era court cases, in which he was charged both with money laundering and financing the Brotherhood, which had remained officially outlawed until last year's popular uprising.