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The Muslim Brotherhood has announced that Mohamed Morsy, chairman of its Freedom and Justice Party, will replace former deputy Supreme Guide Khairat al-Shater as its candidate for the presidential election slated for May.
The FJP and its parent organization said in a joint statement Tuesday that they were surprised by the Presidential Elections Commission’s decision to exclude Shater from the race.
On Saturday, the commission ruled that 10 candidates were ineligible to run, including former spy chief Omar Suleiman and Salafi preacher Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, for various reasons. The commission gave them 48 hours to appeal and rejected the appeals on Tuesday.
Shater was apparently excluded due to a prison term he had served during former President Hosni Mubarak’s tenure, which, he argues, was politically motivated. Presidential candidates cannot have criminal records.
The Brotherhood had announced Morsy as a backup candidate in case Shater faced any legal hurdles.
The statement also said the group and the party were astonished when the commission turned down Shater’s appeal, and said that the all legal evidence supported his challenge.
“Out of the Muslim Brotherhood and the FJP’s belief in the precariousness of the current stage, the group and the party declare they are proceeding with their presidential bid by supporting Mohamed Morsy,” the statement said.
But Nageh Ibrahim, a prominent Jama’a al-Islamiya member, said Morsy — unlike Shater — has fewer prospects for success and has not had time to campaign because he entered the race late.
Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm