Egypt's Brotherhood fields 'backup' candidate

Freedom and Justice Party's decision comes amid legal issues surrounding its current candidate, Khairat al-Shater

Muslim Brotherhood, FJP's Khairat al-Shater (photo credit: Reuters)
Muslim Brotherhood, FJP's Khairat al-Shater
(photo credit: Reuters)
The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party announced a second presidential candidate on Sunday, fearing that the Presidential Elections Committee will reject its current candidate on legal grounds.
Egyptian parliamentary speaker Saad al-Katani accompanied Mohamed Morsi, who chairs the FJP, to the political parties office in order to file the requisite papers to begin the process of entering the presidential race, Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram reported according to an informed source. The Egyptian newspaper called Morsi a "backup" candidate.
The FJP announced last week that it would enter Khariat al-Shater, a shrewd businessman and highly influential Brotherhood member, into Egypt's upcoming presidential elections, which are slated for May 23-24. Shater's candidacy came after the Brotherhood had previously vowed not to field a presidential candidate.
The Muslim Brotherhood's sent out a message on its Twitter account Sunday saying that Morsi would pull out of the race should the Egyptian elections commission deem Shater's candidacy legal.
Issues remain surrounding Shater's recent prison sentences, putting his candidacy into question.
While Shater was released from prison - he was serving a seven year sentence beginning in 2008 for money laundering and funding the "banned" Muslim Brotherhood - shortly after the ouster of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, he must receive was is called a "redemption" pardon from the military court in which he was tried, Al-Ahram's English language website reported.
Shater could only receive that "redemption" from the court a full 10 years after his sentencing, in 2018. He could, however, be retried if new evidence is produced surrounding his case.
Aside from the legal process bound by the military court, the Supreme Council of Armed Forces, Egypt's military rulers that took the reigns after Mubarak's ouster, could issue an immediate pardon.
While the Muslim Brotherhood insists that Shater had been cleared of the legal hurdles standing in the way of his candidacy, the Brotherhood heavyweight's lawyer, Abdel-Moneim Abdel-Maqsoud, has been vague as to whether Shater can legitimately run.