Muslim Brotherhood member announces he will run for president

While the Muslim Brotherhood has promised not to field a candidate in Egypt’s presidential election, slated for September, a member of the group, Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, has announced he will run for president as an independent.

Fotouh is depicted in the Western media as a moderate and a reformer, and his candidacy is not being formally backed by the Muslim Brotherhood. However, it is possible this is a ploy by the Brotherhood to get an Islamist into the presidency.

The Atlantic reports:

Many activists regard the highly respected head of the Arab Doctors Syndicate Aboul Fotouh, 59, as the pretty face of the Muslim Brotherhood.”He is the best the Brotherhood has,” said Nawla Darwiche, president of women’s rights organization the New Woman Foundation, about the moderate politician. “But,” she added, “they’re all liars,” referring to the group’s repeated revisions of their stated political ambitions in the upcoming elections.

The Muslim Brotherhood has been careful to counter Western concerns that it would grab power in Egypt by not fielding a presidential candidate. “But on the quiet,” debkafile reports, “in the second week of April, the Brotherhood leaders picked Fotouh as their candidate for future president of Egypt.” debkafile reports that as a result of Fotouh’s candidacy, Egypt’s military rulers have been convinced not to run a military or secular contender against him.

Barry Rubin, writing for the Jerusalem Post, also sees this as a Muslim Brotherhood tactic to get one of its own into power after it dropped presidential candidate Muhammad ElBaradei. “The bottom line is that for the first time this week, a Brotherhood takeover of Egypt in 2011 is really possible,” he wrote Sunday.

At this early stage, an Al-Ahram poll has Fotouh tied with Amr Moussa, Egypt’s former foreign minister and Arab League secretary general, as the leading candidates.

This means, in addition to most likely having an Islamist-dominated parliament, it is quite possible that Egypt will soon have an Islamist president. The Muslim Brotherhood, the dominant political organization in the country, could soon hold the reins of power in Egypt.