A decision to disqualify the Muslim Brotherhood’s preferred candidate for Egypt’s presidential election has thrust the Islamist movement’s backstop nominee, Mohamed Mursi, to the head of the race.
Mursi, head of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) which dominates the country’s parliament, replaces Khairat al-Shater, a millionaire businessman who was excluded from the election battle because of past convictions by military courts.
Here are some facts about Mursi:
*He was a member of the Brotherhood’s executive council who led its parliamentary bloc from 2000 to 2005. He resigned from the council in April last year to lead the FJP into parliamentary elections, which were completed in January.
*Like many Brotherhood leaders, Mursi was frequently harassed by the authorities during President Hosni Mubarak’s three-decade rule and drew much public sympathy for enduring repeated trials.
*He was jailed and briefly held under house arrest in 2006 and again in January 2011, a few days after the eruption of street protests that eventually toppled the autocratic Mubarak in February last year.
*Mursi was born on August 20, 1951 in al-Adwa, a small village in the Nile delta town of Sharqiya. He studied and taught engineering at local and foreign universities, earning a masters degree from Cairo University in the late 1970s and later a doctorate from a California university.
*He remains head of the engineering department in Egypt’s Zaqaziq University and is married with four children.