The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood decision to nominate their Deputy Secretary Khirat al-Shater to run for Presidency has aroused a controversy that is not limited only to the inside but extended to interested bodies outside Egypt, because Egypt's political significance, and unique geographical location and effect, makes the next person on top of the regime not only an internal Egyptian affair, but a par excellence Arab and Islamic one.
Certainly, it is shocking too that people would sleep and wake up to an Egyptian President belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood. It is a group which has been struggling since 1928, in order to have an influence and impact in the public Egyptian life as well as to be involved in the governance of Egypt, as it is the ambition of any political party in the world .
It is shocking indeed to Egyptians to see a character such as Shater as President of their republic, not because he does not deserve it or because he is less efficient, but because such thing was beyond imagination until a few months ago. Such a thing was confined in the Egyptians' minds to the military, let alone the civilians . it would be more unaccepted if this civilian belongs to a civil group that has been banned for decades from exercising legal political work ?
The upper limit that the Egyptians have put for any political role for the Muslim Brotherhood is the membership of the People's Council, a thing that had happened more than once during the period of former President Mubarak.
Under January revolution, they began to accept expanding the Muslim Brotherhood's role in public life, and many of the Egyptians have voted for them in the last People's and Shora council's elections, in a clear expression for their hope in this large political trend that covers the Egyptian land, which all repression attempts that it had been exposed to during the last decades, failed in destroying its entity.
However the Egyptians did not use to see Muslim Brotherhood members undertaking ministerial portfolios, leave alone seeing two Brotherhood persons in the posts of the President and Prime Minister.
The source of concern here is that the Muslim Brotherhood have not previous experience in the management of state affairs at any level. Another source of concern also comes from the lack of clarity on how the Arab world and the major countries will receive this political shock that will not only impact just Egypt, but it is sure that its influence will extend to levels that are difficult to predict at present. In case of the negative reception , this would mean that Egypt had under the domination of the Muslim Brotherhood over power in Egypt will expose it to endless political and economic troubles, which cannot be tolerated under the difficult economic conditions experienced by Egypt now.
It is striking that, after the nomination of the Brotherhood to the presidency of Egypt, many who have criticized this position did not focus on the negative effects that would result from winning the elections, but they focused in their criticism on the retreat of the Muslim Brotherhood from their promises not to provide any candidate for office, as if they have committed a great sin. Such things are known in the political work in the whole world. It is not linked to truth or lying, but it depends on the discretion of the political party and on the nature of the prevailing political situation at the designated moment.
The criticism went on to portray the Muslim Brotherhood as a lying religious group. From political perspective, this position does not fall within lies, and the Brotherhood are not a religious group in the sense of the word . They are a political party that has its political program, through which they work for access to power and they cannot be deprived of that right.
Some criticism went on portraying the Muslim Brotherhood's ambition as faulty, and that they want to dominate higher power positions, though this happens in all democracies, when a party or a coalition obtains a political majority. In my view the criticism should have been deeper than such ones which contrast the simplest known political concepts.
It is sure that the Muslim Brotherhood had their prospective that made them nominate Khirat Shater. They may not be completely right, in light of those voted at a rate of 56 to52 from their consultancy council.
This small difference in the votes simply means that there was a great split at the meeting and the decision will remain to be weak because of this small difference in number despite the commitment of all to back it.
As a political Arab analyst, concerned with what is happening in this large important Arab country, one finds no advantage to Egypt or the Muslim Brotherhood in such a decision.
If they had to take any decision, they should have taken a brave step of supporting Dr. Abdulmoeim Abo al-Ftoh, the Brotherhood leader, who was dismissed because of his infringement to the movement's decision not run the presidential elections, which is the same decision that had been lately reversed.
This negative position towards Abo al-Ftoh, is the most embarrassing to Muslim Brotherhood because the man is widely respected amid Egyptian community and succeeded in introducing himself as moderate rational Islamist.
Despite all justifications of the movement for nominating al-Shater, it seemed unsatisfactory to most of their supporters , leave alone their opponents who felt for the first time the real risk on the future of democracy in Egypt, in case the Muslim Brotherhood controlled the political arena.
It seems that the Brotherhood movement is in a difficult situation because of this decision as they didn't succeed in maintaining relations with the ruling military council or keep the positive image which they obtained due to their moderate image in the people's council, because of this decision. They didn't even preserve the good relations with the different political parties who felt really concerned at the movement's desire to control the political arena at the expense of the others.
This in addition to the prospect that the contest between Abo al-Ftoh and al-Shater may damage the supposition that they are contesting on the same broad grass root. The most important possibility is represented by the natural political feeling of the Egyptian people who had given their confidence to the Muslim Brotherhood at the People's Assembly and Shura Councils, will be tempted to give confidence in the presidential elections to a candidate of a different political movement so that they would not put all their eggs in the basket of the Muslim Brotherhood.