The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) has begun the nomination process for electing the party’s president. Elections are to be held on 19 October, FJP sources said.
“Elections are to be held on the day of the general conference. Every nominee has to collect 100 endorsements from the members of the conference to be able to nominate himself,” said Ahmed Ziad, a member of the FJP’s executive office. He added that elections are to be repeated after two hours if a sufficient number of votes are not reached during the first round.
Mona Al-Moshaklat, a member of FJP’s women’s committee, said that Essam Elerian and Mohamed Al-Beltagy are said to be the top nominees for the presidency. She was uncertain as to whether Saad Al-Katatni, former speaker of the parliament, will nominate himself or not.
In a statement issued by FJP on Sunday, the party’s higher board approved the decision of the executive office to start the process of electing a new president. Mohamed Morsy stepped down from the position following his victory in the national presidential elections in June. Since then Essam Elerian, the current vice-president of the party, has been acting president.
The board has called for the formation of an elections committee made up of seven figureheads from within the party.
In preparation for the upcoming parliamentary elections the FJP has announced it will compete for a majority of seats, assuring its participation in the People’s Assembly elections (the lower house of Egypt’s parliament), regardless of any electoral system to be announced. The FJP will cooperate with different political parties and ally to independent figures according to the facts at the time, according to the statement.
In the FJP’s annual conference held at Al-Azhar conference hall on Saturday evening, Mohamed El-Beltagy told reporters that his party welcomes any coalition with parties from different political inclinations “as long as the alliances are based on public interest that achieves the utmost democratic aspirations.” Rejecting questions on names of parties potentially willing to cooperate with FJP, Al-Beltagy stressed the importance of constructing cooperation that does not seek conflict with other groups.
In reference to the Constituent Assembly, Al-Beltagy denounced attempts to tarnish the image of the body and delay the constitution drafting procedures. “ I speak on behalf of the constitution that is being written and representing all citizens in Egypt’s 27 governorates.”
He emphasised freedoms and public rights, stating that the Constituent Assembly committee has considered about 2,600 proposals submitted by ordinary Egyptians.
Refuting statements about the Muslim Brotherhood’s domination of the assembly, Al-Beltagy addressed the 6,500 people filling the hall, saying “We came to serve the executive authority. We as a party do not prepare ourselves for high positions. We came to carry the responsibility of rebuilding Egypt.” Another FJP senior figure, Adel Hamed, said only a quarter of the FJP members belong to the Muslim Brotherhood.
The conference, which brought together a massive number of FJP members and supporters, addressed several general issues on the party’s internal activities throughout the past year.
After Al-Beltagy’s comments on the Constituent Assembly, crowds chanted slogans from a documentary film highlighting the FJP’s activities. The chants included “Al-Katatni is coming back, he is coming back” and “Oh Beltagy, Oh Beltagy continue ahead we are at your back.”
Elerian also made a speech on the current political situation, recalling the day before the presidential election results. He denied all reports that the executive board has been in contact with the ex-presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq. “We started receiving calls from many people and I have called upon all my colleagues to switch off our phones and connect with Allah instead… then Morsy wins,” Elerian said.