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A leader of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party announced his support for the presidential hopeful and former Brotherhood member Abdel Moneim Abouel Fotouh Saturday.
On his Facebook account, Freedom and Justice Party leader Hassan al-Beshbashy wrote that Abouel Fotouh was "key proponent of the Islamic awakening in the 1970's and the second founder of the Muslim Brotherhood.”
Abouel Fotouh controversially left the group earlier this year to run for president, after the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s largest organized political organization, pledged that it would not field a candidate in the race. Later, the group backtracked on its previous statements, fielding first Khairat al-Shater, who was disqualified, and then Morsy, Freedom and Justice Party president.
In his Facebook statement, Beshbasy also said Abouel Fotouh had proven his mettle in clashes with both former presidents Hosni Mubarak and Anwar al-Sadat.
Beshbasy also called on members of the Brotherhood to back Abouel Fotouh, who he said was the "strong honest and consensus candidate backed by all the national and Islamic movements."
He told Al-Masry Al-Youm that many of the Brotherhood senior leaders held similar positions, including the Brotherhood leader Mostafa Komshaish and he expected many of them to officially announce their support of Abouel Fotouh in the coming few days.
There is talk, Beshbasy said, of launching a movment of Brotherhood leaders supporting Abouel Fotouh, under the slogan 'Brotherhood Coalition Backing Abouel Fotouh.’
The group has said members are not bound to vote for the group’s official candidate, Morsy, but have the freedom to choose which the candidate they see best fit.
"We have all the respect and appreciation for Mohamed Morsy, the FJP candidate," Beshbashy said.
He justified not backing Morsy, saying, "Morsy's candidacy represents a political suicide and a threat to the national security because the Brotherhood's acquisition of the presidency, Parliament and Cabinet would lead to the demolishing of the Islamic project with the first factious protest.”
He said some of the recent hard-line rhetoric from group and party leaders would not benefit the Muslim Brotherhood or the country. He said talk such as that of returning to the caliphate system was dangerous and might lead to disagreements with other countries.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm