Egyptian Islamists won’t cap ambitions forever, Brotherhood leader says
The Muslim Brotherhood is not planning to seek power in Egypt’s elections this year but says it will not limit its political ambitions forever and wants secular parties to get organised to foster true competition.
“Everyone must act so we can reach the point where we become like the rest of the countries in the world, with three or four strong parties,” said Mohamed el-Beltagi, a Brotherhood leader.
“The others have been slow to move,” he said, referring to secular activists with whom the Brotherhood joined forces in mass protests that toppled Mubarak, helping ignite revolts in other Arab countries now watching the pace of change in Egypt.
The Brotherhood, founded in 1928, has emerged from decades of oppression as Egypt’s best-organised political group, causing concern among secularists over the Islamists’ political role in one of the Arab world’s most influential countries.
Anxious to reassure other Egyptians, the Brotherhood has said it will seek neither the presidency nor a parliamentary majority in elections which the military rulers to whom Mubarak handed power have pencilled in for September.
But Beltagi said: “We will not forever remain in the position of not seeking power, the majority or the presidency. This is a temporary position until the time there are forces that can compete. At that point, we will take part in the competition.”
After years of rigged elections, there is no way to accurately gauge the popularity of the Brotherhood, which was banned under Mubarak but allowed to operate within limits.