CAIRO: The new Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) is to be announced at a press conference today.
The new chairman will replace outgoing leader Mohamed Mahdi Akef and will have to preside over a schism within the group erupting from the fallout of the appointments of the new Guidance Office as well as the top post.
Tension marred the appointments to the Guidance Office, creating a rift between the conservatives and reformists in the group, with the hardliners – led by the group’s secretary general Mahmoud Ezzat – seeming to have won out in the end.
Prominent reformists like Abdel-Moneim Aboul-Futouh were excluded from the new council and Deputy Supreme Guide Mohamed Habib seemed to have been frozen out of the entire process.
Habib told Al-Shorouk newspaper that he had refused attempts to have him attend today’s press conference and to pledge allegiance to the new Supreme Guide, stating that depending on how things continued he may even leave the Muslim Brotherhood group altogether.
Habib had previously spoken out against not having been informed of the decision to appoint the new Guidance Office nor the Supreme Guide, which rendered the process unconstitutional, according to the group’s charter.
Habib could not be reached for comment Friday, nor could members of the new Guidance Office.
The new leader was supposed to be announced before Jan. 13, but due to the continuing internal deliberations, the deadline for choosing the Supreme Guide was extended till Jan. 16.
One of the few reformists to make it into the new Guidance Office, Essam El-Erian, had previously told Daily News Egypt, ” There are differences [in the MB], but they are not as pronounced as is made out in the media.
Some members had argued that the previous Guidance Office did not have the mandate to select the new one because its term had already expired.
The Muslim Brotherhood was formed in 1928 by Hassan El-Banna but was declared an illegal organization by the state in 1954, and remains so till this day. Brotherhood MPs, however, dominate one fifth of seats in the People’s Assembly as they run as independents during legislative elections.
Although an uneasy truce exists between the group and the state, crackdowns on group members are commonplace and arrests of both senior and junior members are prevalent.