CAIRO - A former member of the Muslim Brotherhood is the best of the Egyptian presidential candidates to have emerged so far, a high-profile Islamic cleric has said, support that could help his chances in the race to become the next head of state.
Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradawi, an Egyptian cleric based in Qatar, described Abdel Moneim Abol Fotoh as the "leading candidate" from a field including former Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa, a liberal and former foreign minister.
Though it is hard to say how much sway Qaradawi could have over the public at large, his remarks could influence those voters sympathetic to the Islamist groups which dominated recent parliamentary elections, including supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is not contesting the presidency.
"I see Abol Fotoh as the first in terms of age and experience of Arab and Egyptian affairs," Qaradawi said in an interview with the Shorouk newspaper published on Wednesday. "He is a cheerful man of good morals who deals with everyone."