I was chosen candidate of Egypt’s revolutionary forces: Abul Fotouh


Egypt’s presidential candidate and former Muslim Brotherhood members, Abdul Moniem Abul Fotouh, said a committee representing various forces who took part in last year’s revolution has chosen him as their consensual candidate in a bid to thwart remnants of the old regime from reaching power.

He said various revolutionary forces, divided along ideological lines, had sought to coalesce around one candidate and support him to be elected as president.

The comments were made by Abul Fotouh during an episode of the Sebaq al-Reyasa (Presidential Race) show, presented by Randa Abdul Azm.

A committee of 100 figures representing those forces picked him as the consensual candidate, Abul Fotouh said, adding that the rest of the candidates who were not part of the former regime will be grouped in a “presidential committee” to work with him if he wins the presidential race.

Two main figures of the former regime are running in the presidential elections, former Arab League chief and foreign minister Amr Moussa and former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq.

“There is an initiative to agree on one candidate who is known for his support of the revolution and I hope it works,” Abul Fotouh told Al Arabiya in an interview from Cairo.

“I was the candidate chosen by this committee to represent the revolutionary powers. I agreed to this offer and I hope it is going to work,” he added.

Abul Fotouh, known for his moderate Islamist views, said if the other candidates representing the revolutionary forces do not accept him as the consensual candidate “they will run and it will be up to the people to choose from amongst them.”

“In this case, we will hope that one of the revolutionary candidates will make it and not one who belonged to the former regime,” Abul Fotouh said.

He denied reports that he was approached by former Arab League Secretary General and current presidential candidate Amr Moussa to form a presidential team.

“Even if this was true, I would not agree to this alliance,” Abul Fotouh said.

Assassination reports

Abul Fotouh denied reports by the Egyptian media that the Muslim Brotherhood group, from which he was expelled after he decided to run for the president, was planning to kill him.

“I could be assassinated by the Mossad, by remnants of the former regime, or by any international power that sees the Egyptian revolution as a threat to its interests, but definitely not the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Candidate of all Egyptians

“I am the candidate of all Egyptians and not a specific faction and I would always work towards establishing a good relationship with all of them,” Abul Fotouh said.

He said it was unlikely that the exclusion of Salafist candidate Hazem Salah Abu Ismail from the presidential race would trigger a spat of violence.

“Salafist supporters of Abu Ismail were emotional about his exclusion, but they did not engage in any acts of violence and Salafi prominent figures asked them to exercise self-restraint and so did Abu Ismail himself.”

Abul Fotouh said a law requiring the parents of candidates to hold only Egyptian citizenships was a “bit strict” but that the decision to exclusion has be respected.

“The same applies to Muslim Brotherhood’s former candidate Khairat al-Shater,” Abul Fotouh said.

Regarding former spy chief Suleiman, Abul Fotouh said, he “should not have only been excluded, but should have been put to trial,”

Election date

Abul Fotouh said he objects to any plans to postpone the presidential elections “under any pretext.”

“This will mean more economic crises, lack of security, and the deterioration of the Egyptian state. The military council denied the possibility of postponement, yet some powers might be pushing for that,” Abul Fotouh said.

He also objected to drafting a constitution before the elections and under the military rule.

“The drafting of a constitution needs about six months and members of the committee in charge with drafting the constitution should be carefully chosen in order not to repeat the mistake of the previous committee that was not representative of the Egyptian people.”

Abul Fotouh said he supports a draft law that seeks to ban officials of the former regime from occupying senior government posts.

“In other countries, the revolutionaries execute members of the former regime but Egyptians are peaceful people and will never do that. They, therefore, need to be all put on trial.”

Army’s status after the election

Abul Fotouh said the status of the army should not be changed in the new constitution.

“I believe that the status of the army in the 1971 constitution should remain as they are. It is under these articles that the army has achieved its greatest victory so they should not be changed.”

Abul Fotouh said he prefers a system of governance that is both presidential and parliamentary.

“I think the president should be in charge of foreign relations, defense and national security while the parliament should mainly focus on domestic issues.”

Return to the Brotherhood

Abul Fotouh ruled out going back to the Muslim Brotherhood before the organization undergoes change.

“I called upon the Brotherhood to legalize its status and to separate between the group as a preaching entity and the party as a political one and until this happens, I don’t think it is possible that I go back.”

Abul Fotouh said applying the Shariah law “should be done within a legal framework and through laws passed by the parliament while taking into consideration the circumstances through which the country is going as well as national interests and the rights of individuals.”

He also argued that Christians should have the full right to refer to their scriptures.

Abul Fotouh said he does not expect elections to be rigged and cannot question the integrity of the Presidential Elections Commission .

“The commission is made up of Egypt’s most prominent five judges and I trust that they will not allow any violations to happen.”

As for the appointment of vice-presidents, Abul Fotouh said that he will go for youths regardless of gender and religion.

“I also believe a vice-president is not the president’s secretary and should be given powers unlike what happened in the case of Mubarak when he was Sadat’s deputy.”

When asked about the position of the First Lady, Abul Fotouh said that there is no such position in the law.

“The wife of the president should be like any woman and living a normal. There is no longer a first man and therefore there will never be a first lady.”

(Translated from Arabic original by Sonia Farid)