- Middle East/North Africa
The Muslim Brotherhood is defending recent government appointments of group members in response to criticism from other political parties.
The Brotherhood on Wednesday acknowledged a report submitted the previous day by Nour Party leader Younis Makyoun saying dozens of Brotherhood members have been tapped as deputy ministers, assistants and municipal officials since President Mohamed Morsy, who hails from the group, took power.
Makhyoun, a Salafi leader, submitted the report to the president during a national dialogue session Tuesday designed to bring various factions to the table to resolve the country's political deadlock. However the talks are responsible for creating yet more rifts between factions.
During the session, Makhyoun had threatened to withdraw, saying “I did not get a chance to speak. Other parties still [with ties to the administration] did.”
In a statement Wednesday, Egypt's largest Islamist organization justified the appointments, saying the candidates were chosen based on their qualifications and that the Nour complaint is political maneuvering ahead of the elections.
The appointees "have been selected according to the criteria of efficiency. The minister has the right to choose the experts who have the ability to perform work efficiently," Brotherhood spokesperson Ahmed Aref told Al-Masry Al-Youm Wednesday.
Tensions have risen between the two Islamist groups since the Nour Party accused the Brotherhood and its political arm of ignoring its initiative that includes a Cabinet reshuffle.
"Do the political forces want to continue excluding Brothers from important posts?" Aref asked, referring to a longtime ban on the group from political office.
He added that Morsy's government has not violated any rules or laws.
Morsy said he had no knowledge of the appointments in question when a Nour Party delegation raised the issue in a meeting two weeks ago, according to Nour leader Ashraf Thabet. He added that the report is based on information collected by ministry employees and party secretaries in various governorates.
"The party submitted the report to the president and takes responsibility for everything in it," said Shaaban Aleem, a member of Nour Party's supreme body.
Morsy opened the latest round of national talks Tuesday evening at the Ettehadiya Presidential Palace, despite the absence of major opposition groups, including the National Salvation Front.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm