The Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) on Saturday named Khairat al-Shater, a deputy to the Brotherhood's leader and an accomplished businessman in Egypt, as its presidential candidate for May's vote, its official Facebook page said.
The Brotherhood, which dominated the first parliamentary vote after Hosni Mubarak was ousted last year, had said it would not run in what is billed as Egypt's first free and fair presidential race. The first round of voting is on May 23-24.
"Fifty-six members (out of 108 members of the Brotherhood's Shura Council) voted to pick Khairat al-Shater as the Brotherhood's presidential candidate and 52 voted against it," a member of the Brotherhood told Reuters ahead of a news conference to name its candidate.
The Brotherhood, which dominated the first parliamentary vote after Hosni Mubarak's ouster last year, had said it would not run in what is billed as Egypt's first free and fair presidential race. The first round of voting is on May 23-24.
On Israel, Shater has said that he would abide by all existing commitments made by previous Egyptian governments, which includes the peace accords signed with Israel in 1979.
The presidential candidate indicated, however, that the government could choose to amend certain aspects of the peace treaty through parliamentary processes, especially with regards to natural gas and oil agreements. Shater made the comments in an interview with Egyptian newspaper Al Ahram published on the Brotherhood's English-language website in January of this year.
Shater, who prefers to be called "the engineer," rose to prominence in the Brotherhood during the last two decades, continuing his career during time he spent in jail between 2007 until he was freed by Egypt's military rulers in March 2011.
For most of his 30 years in office, Mubarak was elected by single candidate referendums. But in 2005, after pressure from the United States, a close ally, Egypt held its first multi-candidate presidential race.
In response to the Brotherhood's decision, US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said that the US would be following the Egyptian elections closely, but urged political actors there against discrimination against women, minorities, or political opponents.