CAIRO: Reportedly one of the strongest candidates for the next Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, Rashad Bayoumi told Daily News Egypt that he prefers not to be nominated for the position.
This is a difficult mission for one to carry, it’s not an honorary position, he said in a telephone interview.
Speculation over the next leader of Egypt’s most powerful opposition group has increased recently as the current leader Mohamed Mahdi Akef announced his decision not to extend his tenure when his term ends in January.
Newspapers have published conflicting reports regarding Akef’s successor, naming Bayoumi, Mohamed Habib, the former secretary general of the group, and Mohamed Badea as the three main contenders.
While state-owned Al-Ahram reported that Bayoumi was going to be the next leader, the London-based Saudi newspaper Al-Sharq Al-Awsat quoted the former spokesman of the group Kamal El-Helbawy as saying that Badea will take over.
Other reports however, claimed that Habib, who was excluded from the Guidance Office, is the strongest candidate.
Bayoumi denied all reports, saying that no one has yet been chosen.
There is no competition between us and there are no candidates as most people think; the members of the Guidance Office nominate who they believe is best in a consensus vote, he said.
The opposition Al-Wafd newspaper said in its Sunday edition that the Brotherhood has ordered a media blackout on news of the identity of the next Supreme Guide, but senior Brotherhood deputy Essam El-Erian denied the allegation.
Nowadays, the media has nothing to talk about but the Muslim Brotherhood. How can there be a media ban? he told Daily News Egypt.
According to El-Erian, the new supreme leader will be named before Jan. 13.
A recent study conducted by the Arabic Center for Studies and Research said that the Muslim Brotherhood is living its toughest crisis in 81 years as a result of disputes related to the nomination of members of the Guidance Office and the new Supreme Guide.
The study said that the nominations were criticized for being dominated by old school members and excluded the reformists.
Bayoumi, however, disagreed with describing the reported rift within the group as reflecting “disputes.
They can t be considered disputes, he said. “They are differences in opinion that demonstrate how healthy the inner working of the group is.