Q&A with head of Muslim Brotherhood parliamentary bloc

Mohamed Saad al-Katabny, head of the Muslim Brotherhood parliamentary bloc, told Al-Masry Al-Youm his organization will continue to use the slogan “Islam is the Solution” during the November parliamentary elections. The slogan is not religious but suits the elections and is consistent with the Constitution, he said.

Below is the interview in full.

Al-Masry Al-Youm: Will current parliamentary members stand in the November elections?

Mohamed Saad al-Katatny: Twenty percent of current MPs requested not to stand in the elections for health conditions. Others, according to governorate estimates, have yet to decide.

Al-Masry: Why are prominent members of the group repeatedly arrested?

Al-Katatny: Security services do this before elections to intimidate people against voting for Muslim Brotherhood candidates, but all of these campaigns have failed. This won’t bend us, but increase our popularity. These campaigns are still in the beginning but will increase in order to incapacitate Muslim Brotherhood candidates.

Al-Masry: The popularity of the Muslim Brotherhood is said to have declined since the 2005 elections. What do you think?

Al-Katatny: Untrue. If there’s fair elections, we’ll see how people support the Muslim Brotherhood. Our candidates did so many things during their parliamentary membership. The ones who have passed bad laws and are in charge of the deteriorating situation of parliament are not the Muslim Brotherhood or the opposition.

Al-Masry: Do you think monitoring elections is necessary?

Al-Katatny: If the regime intends to have fair elections, it will allow the international community or civil society to monitor. Preventing monitoring means there’s an intention to rig elections.

Al-Masry: How will Muslim Brotherhood candidates be chosen?

Al-Katatny: Candidacy will systematically start from districts, then the governorate’s administrative offices, and then the group’s central committee. Governorates have leveled some 190 candidates up to the central committee which will be cut to 153, representing 30 percent of seats, according to the Brotherhood Shura Council. Thirty-seven candidates are negotiated to be excluded.

Al-Masry: Is there coordination between the Muslim Brotherhood and the opposition over elections?

Al-Katatny: Coordination is welcomed, but until now no one has officially requested it. It’s true the Muslim Brotherhood coordinates with some individuals and prominent figures so the Brotherhood will support them and leave them some districts.

Al-Masry: It was said you will stand for elections in different district than your own. Is that true?

Al-Katatny: It’s just a rumor. I’ll remain in the same district, Bandar al-Minya, for a professional seat. The contest is separate from alleged sectarian strife, which we oppose. We want this election to be fair, so we will respect the choices of citizens.

Al-Masry: What about the final stance on candidacy in the Minya districts?

Al-Katatny: We will stand for elections in seven districts–six of which have been fielded by Muslim Brotherhood parliamentary bloc members since 2005. Those are: al-Adwa, Maghagha, Bani Mazar, Matay, Bandar al-Minya, Bandar Mallawy, and the seventh district will be Samallout. Two current members apologized for not standing in the elections but we will field three new candidates in addition to the four current candidates.

Al-Masry: Is there a deal for the Brotherhood to be represented by less than 20 seats?

Al-katatny: What’s said about allocating seats for the Muslim Brotherhood gives the regime a bad reputation. The National Democratic Party (NDP) wants to allocate seats, which means there’s an intention to rig elections so the results would be as the NDP intends.  

Al-Masry: Does the Muslim Brotherhood need a newspaper or a TV channel ?

Al-Katatny: Muslim Brotherhood news is covered by the mass media; we are not in need of a private channel. However, I’m afraid what has happened with Al-Dostour newspaper is the beginning in a series of attacks that target independent newspapers.

Al-Masry: How will you deal with the candidacy of Abdel Salam Mahgoub and Moufid Shehab in  Alexandria’s Moharam Bek and al-Raml?

Al-Katatny: The group doesn’t have a candidate in Moharam Bek district so far, whereas the two seats of al-Raml district have been taken by the group since 2005. We hope elections will be fair and that the NDP will no rig the elections to make the minister win.

Al-Masry: What do you think of minister candidacies in parliamentary elections?

Al-Katatny: Ministers usually fail as MPs because they are preoccupied with ministerial duties. During the current session, ministers didn’t provide any control. Considering that an MP has an observatory or legislative role, what have minister MPs done other than use their positions to win seats again?

Al-Masry: Will the Brotherhood fight for the women's quota seats?

Al-Katatny: Yes, we will in 15 districts.

Al-Masry: Do you think the Muslim Brotherhood has a chance to win?

Al-Katatny: In the case of fair elections, the Muslim Brotherhood will grab more than 88 seats, for sure.

Al-Masry: Will the Brotherhood field a candidate for the forthcoming presidential elections?

Al-katatny: No.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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