Khairat Al-Shater is the presidential
candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt
Article added on April 1, 2012 at 19:19 Portuguese time
In a reversal of their original position not to
present a candidate in the 2012 Egyptian presidential election, the Muslim
Brotherhood has nominated its deputy chairman Khairat Al-Shater as its
standard bearer for the top job in Egypt.
Speculation is growing in Egypt and around the world of the possibility of
the Muslim Brotherhood dominating Egypt's parliament, government,
constitutional drafting committee as well as
the office of the president. So far, the strongest force in play remains the
Egyptian military, which gets sponsored with billions of dollars by the
United States government or rather its taxpayers.
Khairat Al-Shater (*1950) is a multimillionaire businessman who has made his
money in electronics, retail and manufacturing. The deputy chairman of the
Muslim Brotherhood has spent several years in jail under
Brotherhood's shura council, a sort of party parliament, was almost evenly
split in its 56:52 nomination vote for Khairat Al-Shater. Even Egypt's most
powerful party is not a monolithic organization.
Khairat Al-Shater nomination is surely meant as a sign of reassurance to the economic
community in Egypt and abroad that the Muslim Brotherhood will not interfere in the private
market since Khairat Al-Shater is considered an advocate of free-market
capitalism. A Salon article by Avi Asher-Schapiro published in
January 2012 went as far as to suggest that Khairat Al-Shater is
“a strong advocate of privatization”,
that the Muslim Brotherhood, which is often portrayed as a
“shadowy organization with terrorist ties”, “has more in common with
America's Republican Party than with al-Qaida.”
Indeed, the Mubarak regime jailed many Muslim Brotherhood businessmen, not
only for ideological reasons, but also or sometimes even exclusively because
their representatives were rivals of Mubarak cronies.
Khairat Al-Shater spoke out in favor of desperately needed foreign
direct investment in Egypt. Could the Muslim Brotherhood become the force in
favor of the opening of Egypt and of privatization in the Nile country? Khairat Al-Shater
has had many talks with U.S. officials, including Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton, to ensure them that hell will not break loose if he should take
Hosni Mubarak's Egypt was a country for the
happy few with good ties to the regime. This view seems very optimistic but
not totally unfounded. Time will tell. As long as the ultraconservative,
fundamentalist Salafi party does not take over Egypt, a lot of hope for the
future of the Nile country remains.
The 2012 presidential election in Egypt is scheduled for May 23 and 24, with
a runoff on June 16 and 17, if necessary. Other candidates include Arab
League Chef Amr Mussa, the Salafist television host Hazem Salah Abu Ismail
and former Muslim Brotherhood member Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouoh, to mention
just a few.
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