Salafist Call won't endorse El-Sisi as presidential candidate: Borhamy

Ahram Online, Saturday 1 Feb 2014

Were he to run for the presidency, Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi would not have the backing of the Salafist movement, says Islamist cleric El-Borhamy

Sheikh Yasser El Borhamy (Photo:Ahram Online)

The deputy head of Egypt's Salafist Call, Yasser El-Borhamy, says the movement and its political arm, the Nour Party, will not support the presidential candidacy of army chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi should he decide to run for president.

Speaking to Lebanese paper As-Safir in an extended interview, El-Borhamy, who has voiced regular support for Egypt's ongoing transitional roadmap, says the Salafist Call and Nour Party have no plans so far to field a presidential candidate.

"Like in the first round [of last year's presidential elections] when we supported Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh, we will settle on only one candidate in the coming polls," he was quoted as saying.

"We will not participate in dividing the street like in last year's polls, when when we supported one candidate (other than the one they originally favoured) over the other in the second round."

The Salafist Call and Nour Party, along with all other Islamist groups, rallied behind eventual winner, Mohamed Morsi, in the runoff vote of the 2012 presidential polls, after their favoured candidate, Aboul-Fotouh, finished fourth in the first round.

Morsi, who assumed power after narrowly beating former Mubarak premier Ahmed Shafiq, was toppled 3 July following mass protests across the nation against his rule.

El-Sisi announced the end of his rule and the implementation of a new political roadmap, which was agreed on by many political parties, including the Nour Party. The party has not changed its posture since.

After the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) last week gave El-Sisi the green light to run for president, he became widely tipped to be the country's next head of state, given his vast popularity gained following the ouster of Morsi.

Despite refusing to support him, El-Borhamy stressed the Salafist Call and the Nour Party would not oppose El-Sisi's run for the presidency, were he to announce it. "We accept to field our own candidate in 10 years," he added.   

The Salafist Nour Party had said it would endorse a candidate, emphasising that El-Sisi needed to resign from his position as minister of defence to run as a civilian candidate.

Presidential elections should take place in the period 17 February to 18 April, according to a recent decree issued by Interim President Adly Mansour.

Only the Nasserist figure Hamdeen Sabbahi, who finished third in last year's presidential race, has confirmed his intention to run in the upcoming presidential elections.

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