Brotherhood's El-Beltagi challenges group decision to field presidential candidate

Ahram Online, Monday 26 Mar 2012

Cracks emerge in Egypt's most formidable Islamist movement as leading Brotherhood member Mohamed El-Beltagy challenges group's decision to field presidential candidate

Mohamed El-Beltagi, leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood and secretary-general of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), has voiced opposition to the Brotherhood's stated intention to field a candidate in Egypt's first post-Mubarak presidential elections.

"I oppose the Brotherhood's proposal to nominate a president from within the group and think that the Brotherhood should own up to its mistakes," El-Beltagi said on Monday.

According to El-Beltagi's Facebook page, the revolution erupted when the Egyptian people – rather than a particular party or group – decided they could no longer tolerate the Mubarak regime. He went on to assert that the Brotherhood should admit that it had contributed to fostering division within the national revolutionary movement.

He went on to urge the group to work on reuniting the country's revolutionary forces in light of the Brotherhood's post-revolution political ascendancy.

El-Beltagi believes that most of the problems Egypt is currently facing, including a longstanding security vacuum and serious commodity shortages, were being caused by the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF). To El-Beltagi, the SCAF's insistence on staying in power made it ultimately responsible for all the nation's current woes.

He stressed, however, that he was not blaming the SCAF in order to stir up public opinion against Egypt's current military rulers.

He insisted on the need to accomplish certain objectives in the final phase of Egypt's current transitional period, including:

1- The drafting of a constitution for a democratic country not subject to the guardianship of the military;

2- The formation of a government that enjoys full authority and is not subject to higher powers;

3- The election of a president capable of running the county in line with national interests and who enjoys total independence.

El-Beltagi said he opposed the Brotherhood's decision to field a presidential candidate since he believes it would be unfair to both the Brotherhood and the nation if the Brotherhood were to be made responsible for the parliament, the presidency and the government. He went on to emphasise that the Brotherhood's Islamic project – in the works for 80 years – could not be achieved in a matter of months.

A medical doctor by profession, El-Beltagi is one of the FJP's most outspoken MPs, having served as Brotherhood deputy from 2005 to 2010. Since last year's popular uprising, he has become known for his vocal criticisms of Egypt's post-revolution military rulers.

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