Egypt’s ruling military council is planning a cabinet reshuffle aimed at
bringing Islamists into the government, sources told the staterun al-Ahram news
website on Sunday.
Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, the council’s head,
will present Prime Minister Kamal Ganzouri with a reshuffle proposal that “will
include a group of ministers representing the Islamists and other political and
party forces in the parliament,” the sources told al-Ahram.
emerged as the biggest winners in post-revolution Egypt, but the 84-yearold
Muslim Brotherhood has seen its victories dampened by the rise of
ultra-hard-line Salafis. The Salafi Da’wa (or “Call”), an umbrella organization
led by the Nour party that represents Egypt’s Salafi groups, announced late
Saturday night that it would back a former top Muslim Brotherhood official for
The decision to support Abdel Moneim Abol Fotouh strikes a
blow to the Brotherhood’s prospects of filling the presidency with its own
candidate, Mohamed Mursi.
“The Salafi Call has decided by majority vote
to back Abdel Moneim Abol Fotouh in the presidential elections,” said spokesman
Yasser Borhamy. “The Nour Party, the political wing of the Salafi Call, has also
voted to back Abol Fotouh.”
The spokesman said the Salafis would,
however, back Mursi should he, and not Abol Fotouh, make it to the second round
The Nour party garnered roughly a quarter of the votes in
Egypt’s recent parliamentary elections, second only to the Brotherhood, which
took around half.
Some 53 million Egyptians will be eligible to vote on
May 23-24 in a first round of balloting. Voting is expected to be followed by a
June runoff between the top two candidates, and the ruling military council is
due to hand over power on July 1. Polls show Abol Fouth, Morsi and former
foreign minister and Arab League chief Amr Moussa as the race’s three
Abol Fotouh, a member of the Brotherhood for four decades,
was expelled from the movement in June after announcing that he would run for
president in defiance of the party’s pledge not to field a candidate to replace
deposed leader Hosni Mubarak.
Last month, the Brotherhood reversed its
decision, appointing longtime financier Khairat al-Shater as its main contender,
although earlier this month, Shater’s candidacy was annulled – along with those
of Mubarak’s intelligence chief Omar Suleiman and the Salafist Hazem Saleh Abu
Ismail – and the Brotherhood replaced him with the lesser known, less
“We see him as the most appropriate person for this
period,” Muhammad Nour, a spokesman for the Nour Party, said Saturday of Abol
Fotouh. “He does not belong to any party and he adheres to principles and the
project of Islamic civilization to a great extent.”
“We will only pick
someone who is the best for leading Egypt, even if we disagree with him in some
ideological matters,” Nour added without elaborating.
Abol Fotouh, 60, is
traditional enough to win the support of Egypt’s most hard-line Islamists, but
has consciously cultivated an image of a reformist to win the backing of some
liberals and leftists.
Reuters contributed to this report.