The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood held its very first public elections on Saturday. Elections were for the three seats left empty in the MB Guidance Bureau after several of its members have taken positions in the MB’s newly formed Freedom and Justice Party, instead.
Abd El-Azim Abou Seif and Ahmed Abd El-Rahman competed for the Northern Upper Egypt seat.
MB youth have demanded that they be allocated seats within the Guidance Bureau following the January 25 Revolution, but their demand was rejected without explanation.
The elections were held in a 5-star Nasr City hotel (in north eastern Cairo) and were attended by all of the organisation’s leaders. Speaking to the attendees, Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie said “this, the elections attended by all Shura council members now assembled for the fourth time in the past six months for the whole world to see, symbolises the freedom that Egypt now lives in thanks to the January 25 Revolution.” He added that what the MB has so far accomplished is a product of the work of MB founder, Hassan El-Banna.
Badie compared the situation of the MB now to its situation under Mubarak’s rule. The ousted president worked to malign and slander the Brotherhood, he said, boasting that “the world now knows who was the liar,” and that the MB “has given the word ‘freedom’ and Egypt their dignity back.” He said that “the MB had been patient with a regime that confiscated its freedom and money.”
Badie said that the MB’s Freedom and Justice Party has one Coptic member, Rafiq Habib, who has been unanimously chosen by all Guidance Bureau members. The party has also been approved by 100 Copts and has 1000 female members amongst the party’s founders, according to Badie. The party has in total 8000 founding members.
In total 106 members of the organisation’s Shura Council attended the elections while 16 were absent. Amongst the 16 absent were Abdel Moneim Abul-Fotouh and Mohamed Habib, which confirms that they have been sacked from their positions within the MB.
The organisation is expected to host an iftar later Saturday evening at the same hotel where the elections were held. According to sources, the whole event, including the food, ran up a LE1 million ($170,000) bill.
This iftar will be the MB’s first public one since 2006, which was reported to have cost LE400,000 (back then, $72,700).
The reception announcing the formation of the Freedom and Justice Party 4 months ago had a price tag of LE600,000 ($101,700).
MB sources say that Prime Minister Essam Sharaf, members of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces and several presidential candidates have been invited to the iftar. However, presidential hopeful and former MB member Abul Fotouh was not amongst those mentioned as invited. Presidential hopefuls Amr Moussa and Hamdin El-Sabahi are amongst those expected to attend the iftar.