Parliament in the bag, Egypt Islamists now eye presidency

CAIRO — Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, which already controls parliament, is now eyeing the presidency as it seeks to consolidate its new-found power, but the move could also backfire on them, analysts say.

The Islamist movement said on Saturday that it would nominate its deputy leader, Khayrat Al Shater, a business tycoon and the group’s main financier, to run for the country’s top job.

The announcement sent shockwaves through political circles, just two months before the first presidential election since a popular uprising toppled Hosni Mubarak last year. The election begins on May 23.

“The Brotherhood is trying to take all the apparatus in the country; it is not surprising that they are fielding a candidate,” said Mustafa Kamel Al Sayyed, a professor of political science at Cairo University.

“Since they won the parliamentary elections, we can expect them to make the same effort for the presidency and their candidate stands a good chance of making it through to the second round,” he told AFP.

But for political analyst Hassan Nafea, the battle will be a tough one for the Brotherhood, whose intention to consolidate power could prove “very dangerous and lead to polarisation.”

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An Egyptian woman walks in front of a wall sprayed with graffiti depicting people carrying gas cylinders in Cairo on Sunday (Reuters photo by Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

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