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Muslim Brotherhood to Run Candidate for Egypt's Presidency
April 1, 2012

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Egypt's powerful Muslim Brotherhood, already well represented in the recently elected Parliament, has done an about-face and announced that it would put forward a candidate for President.

Previously uninterested politically in the presidency, the Brotherhood, through a spokesman, said it was concerned with the existing candidates and their ability to confront the ruling military council, which has vowed to hand over once the President is in office. The name put forward was Khariat al-Shater, one of the Brotherhood's three deputy leaders and a prominent figure internationally as well. Shater recently met with representatives of the International Monetary Fund to discuss a $3.2 billion loan.

Sater spent a few years in jail, convicted on charges including supplying weapons to youths, during the reign of Hosni Mubarak. Sater was released, along with many other prisoners, when Mubarak fled.

The news of Sater's entry into the presidential race is likely not welcome for Abdel Moneim Abol Fotouh, a former Brotherhood member who has announced his candidacy. Also running are former Arab League chief Amr Moussa and Ahmed Shafiq, the country's last prime minister under Mubarak.

Members of the country's more liberal political parties accused the Brotherhood of breaking its well-publicized promise of leaving the presidency to others.

Other candidates, representing themselves or lesser-known parties, also expressed interest in running. The closing date for nominations is April 8.

The two-day election will run May 23-24. If no candidate gains more than 50 percent of the vote, then the candidates who receive the two highest vote totals will take part in a runoff election on June 16-17. Final results will be announced on June 21. The ruling generals have vowed to hand over power by July 1.

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