Abouel Fotouh pledges not to represent Brotherhood in race

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood member and presidential hopeful Abdel Moneim Abouel Fotouh said Sunday he would not agree to represent the Brotherhood, Egypt's largest political group, in the election slated for May.

In an interview with Egyptian satellite channel Al-Hayat, Abouel Fotouh said he represents all Egyptians regardless of their political orientations, and that he adopts Al-Azhar's moderate interpretation of Islam.

He stressed his rejection of a single-party domination of Parliament, the Cabinet and presidency, in a reference to the Brotherhood's majority in Parliament and its efforts to form the Cabinet and vie for the presidency.

He pointed out that the Brotherhood fielded Khairat al-Shater as its principal candidate and political party chairman Mohamed Morsy as a backup candidate, saying this proved that the group did not intend to back him.

He said revolutionary candidates have to agree on one representative to support to prevent former regime figures from winning the post.

Abouel Fotouh broke from the Brotherhood following the January 2011 uprising against former President Hosni Mubarak, when he violated the group's earlier decision not to field a presidential candidate. Several young Brotherhood members had voiced support for him, which prompted the group to cancel their memberships.

He also said he asked the Brotherhood back in 2007 to steer away from politics and more recently to separate the group from its political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party.

Rumors had surfaced about Abouel Fotouh's campaign relying on an advertising agency owned by Shater, one of the Brotherhood's leading financers.

"The company I am dealing with has nothing to do with Shater or Hassan Malik," he said, referring to another group member.

Abouel Fotouh said he is one of few candidates who do not receive foreign funding.

"It was only on Sunday that the Presidential Elections Commission agreed to give me a permission to open a bank account for my campaign," he said, adding that his campaign is witnessing a financial strait because he funds it from his own pocket.

Asked about Egypt's decision to terminate the natural gas deal with Israel, Abouel Fotouh said the agreement was corrupt in the first place.

"Exporting gas to Israel is a squandering of resources and a sign of Mubarak's persistently corrupt regime," he said.

Abouel Fotouh said the elections commission has exhibited transparency and commitment to the law, and asked state bodies not to interfere in its work or subject it to any kind of pressure.

The candidate said he welcomes local and foreign observers in the electoral process.

"Countries seeking fair elections are never concerned, even if the whole world monitors them," he said.

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