Political future ‘possible’ for Brotherhood

March 12, 2014 - 1:33:45 am

Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (right) and Egypt’s Army Chief Field Marshal Abdel Fattah Al Sisi review the guard of honour upon Sisi’s arrival in Abu Dhabi yesterday.

CAIRO: Egyptian leaders should leave the door open for the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood to re-enter politics if the group accepts the constitution, former foreign minister and presidential candidate Amr Moussa said in a rare call for reconciliation.

Moderation has not exactly been in style in Egyptian politics since army chief Field Marshal Abdel Fattah Al Sisi ousted president Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood in July after mass protests against his rule.

Egypt’s most organised political group has been devastated by a security crackdown. Hundreds have been killed in the street and thousands arrested. Egyptian authorities have declared the Brotherhood a terrorist group and put its leaders on trial.

Veteran politician Moussa has thrown his weight behind Sisi, who is expected to announce his candidacy for the presidency in a few days and easily win elections due within months.

Asked if he thought Sisi would accept the Brotherhood in politics, Moussa said: “As long as they are following the rules, playing by the same rules as we are all playing, why should you exclude them?”

“The road is open for them, if they so decide. Field candidates, get into the parliament, the ball is in their court,” Moussa told Reuters in an interview.  “They should look to the future,” Moussa said, which meant choosing “the right way” and working within the system. 

As head of the body that rewrote Egypt’s constitution, Moussa believes democracy includes roles for Brotherhood supporters, providing they peacefully abide by the new document approved by over 90 percent of voters in January.  Many Islamists boycotted the referendum.

“They have the chance to run for elections, if they wish, to establish a party within the confines of the constitution,” said Moussa, who came in fifth in the 2012 election. Sisi had to be president of “all Egyptians”, Moussa said in his office. Moussa refused to be drawn on speculation that he could serve as prime minister under Sisi. “I certainly help if I’m asked,” he said, adding Sisi had not approached him to join his presidential campaign.

Moussa said he was confident that Sisi could lead the most populous Arab nation, a strategic US ally, out of uncertainty. But he was under no illusions that it would be an easy task. “We have failure across the board. Over the years, accumulation of mismanagement and half solutions and cult of personalities,” said Moussa.

Reuters

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