Muslim Brotherhood presidential candidate Khairat al-Shater denied allegations that he will pledge allegiance to the group’s Supreme Guide in case he wins the elections and said Egypt is no way similar to Iran.
“Unlike Shiites, Sunnis do not adopt the principle of a spiritual guide,” he told Al Arabiya in his first TV appearance since the group officially nominated him.
Shater explained that he has already resigned from the MB Guidance Bureau and that the Supreme Guide will not interfere in any decisions he makes as president.
“I will rule Egypt through the constitution drafted by the people.”
Shater denied that there is a similarity between the current tension between the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) and that which existed in 1954 between the group and the regime of late president Gamal Abdel Nasser when the latter accused the group of trying to assassinate him.
“The circumstances under which both situations happened are totally different. This time the revolution was staged by the people and not by a group of officers like what happened in 1952.”
According to him, the people who carried out the January 25 Revolution are willing to take to the streets again if they feel their revolution is in danger. That is why escalation on the part of SCAF is not likely.
“That is why I don’t [expect] massive arrests of Muslim Brotherhood members like we saw in Nasser’s time.”
Shatter explained that several parties in the Egyptian political scene are trying to reproduce the old regime in a new shape without realizing that this is not possible at the moment.
“Those people tolerated a lot for 30 years and were exposed to all kinds of damages as far as politics, economy, and the infrastructure are concerned as well as unprecedented corruption.”
The people will stage another revolution if they feel that their will is not being respected said Shater.
“For example, if the elections are rigged even by 1 percent, people will not stand still.”
Shater considered the nomination of former intelligence chief and vice president Omar Suleiman an insult to the revolution.
“Suleiman was vice president and if people had wanted him, they would have accepted him from the beginning.”
Suleiman’s nomination casts doubt on the transparency of the elections.
“The way security apparatuses are run in Egypt makes me skeptical about the elections being free and fair.”
Shater stressed that his nomination for the presidency is 100 percent legal since he was not found guilty of criminal charges.
“I was a political prisoner and it was former president Hosni Mubarak and his Interior Minister Habib al-Adli that referred me to the military court.”
Shater added that he was also arrested based on information provided by the State Security Bureau controlled by Mubarak and Adli, both of whom were toppled by the revolution.
“If this is the reason why I will be prevented from running, this will mean that Mubarak is still ruling Egypt.”
In addition to his political situation and which he believes was rendered void by the fall of his oppressors, Shater explained that his legal status also allows him to run in the presidential elections.
“I was officially acquitted after the revolution when a court order dropped the sentences against me and 17 others.”
(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)