Egypitan Brotherhood party makes news by nominating a presidential candidate

News article, posted 04.03.2012, from Egypt, in:
Ali Abdel Mohsen
Egypitan Brotherhood party makes news by nominating a presidential candidate (Photo: Al-Masry Al-Youm)

Despite previous assertions to the contrary, the Muslim Brotherhood has put forward a candidate for the upcoming presidential elections — a development that dominates Sunday's front pages in more ways than one. Having gone to press before the identity of the candidate was made public last night, Al-Ahram, Al-Wafd and Al-Tahrir all speculate on who the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) might nominate, with a headline in the latter paper asking, "will the Brotherhood nominate Mohamed Selim al-Awa?" The answer comes in the remainder of the nation's headlines: "Shater is the Brotherhood's presidential candidate," reads the red font across Al-Akhbar's frontpage, with an alternate title coming above the actual report: "The Khairat al-Shater surprise."

"The Brotherhood has defied all expectations," the state-owned paper reports, "by choosing their deputy supreme guide as their presidential hopeful." According to the paper, the organization's advisory body had initially "considered" not putting forward a presidential candidate from their own ranks. This decision, however, was "reversed following a majority vote to nominate Shater."

Al-Akhbar reports that, according to anonymous inside sources, the Brotherhood's decision was heavily influenced by the ruling Supreme Council of Armed Forces' refusal to allow the FJP free reign in the shaping of the new government. "SCAF rejected the FJP's plan to select all the members of the next cabinet, which would have been presided over by Mahmoud Morsy, one of the party's leading figures," Al-Akhbar reports, adding that this resulted in a seven-hour meeting, during the last hour of which it was determined that Shater would become the Brotherhood's official candidate.

Freedom and Justice — the FJP's daily paper, which comes with the slogan, "it's for everyone" — frames it slightly differently, with a headline indicating that the decision to nominate Shater was an attempt to save the revolution from a number of threats, such as "the insistence on a failed government," presumably made by others. Other threats included "calls for the dissolution of parliament," and a growing number of "feloul" candidates — or those loyal to the Mubarak regime — infiltrating the presidential race. It was these threats, the paper reports, that "pushed us to bear this historic responsibility."

Freedom and Justice offers little in terms of background information on Shater, and instead devotes its supposed reporting to documenting "a wide range" of reactions within the organization to this "historical development" (spoiler alert: they're all positive).