AFRICA/EGYPT - Observers divided over the candidacy of a member of the Muslim Brotherhood in the presidential elections

Cairo (Agenzia Fides) - The Muslim Brotherhood's decision to present its own candidate in the presidential elections in Egypt is dividing the local and international commentators.
On Sunday, 1 April, the Brotherhood leadership announced the candidature of Khairat el Shater, a 62-year-old businessman considered as one of the main financiers of the movement. The announcement of el Shater’s candidacy
contradicts the promise made a year ago by the Brotherhood where it was said that it would not directly participate in the presidential election with its own aspirants.
The Muslim Brotherhood already control Parliament and the Constitutional Assembly (from which they withdrew, after lay leaders, even representatives of the Coptic Orthodox Church). If their candidate became Head of State, the Brotherhood would control the centers of political power. A power countered by the military that still control a large chunk of the economy.
The candidacy of el Shater is seen precisely in relation to the comparison between the military and the Brotherhood. But the interpretations of observers are divided. According to some, presenting one’s own candidate, the Brothers seek direct confrontation with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (that assumed executive power after the fall of Mubarak). According to others instead, behind the theory of Shater’s candidacy there is a power-sharing agreement between the Brotherhood and the upper echelons of the Armed Forces. A third possibility, which can be integrated with the second or first, finally sees the move of the Brotherhood's attempt to counter the Salafist groups (considered as extremists) that have presented one of their candidates. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 02/04/2012)

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