Where did the votes of Salafis go?

News article, posted 06.01.2012, from Egypt, in:
Noha El-Hennawy
Where did the votes of Salafis go? (Photo: Al-Masry Al-Youm)

Almost three weeks before the presidential poll kicked off, the Salafi Dawah and its political arm the Nour Party had announced their endorsement of Abdel Moneim Abouel Fotouh. The endorsement of the second largest bloc in Parliament was seen then as a major boost to the 61-year-old independent Islamist, whose chances were already quite high, according to several opinion polls. Yet, the actual vote has proven otherwise.

Abouel Fotouh came in fourth in the first round of the presidential election held last week, garnering a little less than 20 percent of more than 23 million valid votes. Since then, accusations were leveled against Salafis that they had betrayed their candidate and did not campaign well enough for him on the ground in a way that would have at least qualified him for the run-off.

A second round of the presidential race is scheduled for 16 and 17 June between the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate Mohamed Morsy and Hosni Mubarak’s last Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq.

“How could we have betrayed [Abouel Fotouh]?”wondered Nader Bakkar, a leader of the Nour Party in a column published Tuesday. “All first-rank [Salafi Dawah] leaders had backed him in conferences held across the country.”

“Would we not fear the shame of backing a candidate ostensibly and then become exposed later on?”he asked rhetorically in the privately-owned Youm7 daily.


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