Brotherhood manages to get support from other Islamists

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    By NVONews.Com Correspondent,

    Cairo: Though the unofficial results said that Muslim Brotherhood has only a slight edge over its immediate rival, Ahmed Shafiq, the former got a shot in arms when Independent Islamist candidate, Abdel Moneim Abol Fotouh, who got 17.6 per cent votes and ended up fourth decided to support the Brotherhood in the run-off which is to take place on June 16-17. The official result of the first round would come on Tuesday (May 29).

    The Brotherhood candidate, Mohammad Mursi, got 25.3 votes against Shafiq 24.9 per cent. The Leftist Hamdeen Sabahi got 21.5 per cent. Former foreign minister Amr Moussa, whom the western media highlighted so much, was not in the top four candidates.

    Abol Fotouh said in a statement that he would now back the Islamist group with which he parted ways last year to pursue his presidential bid. Referring to Shafiq he, without taking the name of the Brotherhood, said he and his supporters would “rise above our political and party differences” and would “stand in a united front against the symbols of corruption and oppression.”

    Meanwhile, Brotherhood is reaching out to rivals in an attempt to rally support around its own candidate, Mursi, who faces a runoff against Ahmed Shafiq, who was the last Prime Minister of Hosni Mubarak. He is a former air force commander, who has described Mubarak as a role model.

    Shafiq told Egyptian television on Friday he saw no problem with the idea of a Muslim Brotherhood-led government if he were elected president. The Brotherhood is the biggest party in the Parliament.

    However, observers feel that Mursi’s performance was less than expected. In Parliament the Brotherhood has almost half the seats.

    What surprised the experts was the performance of leftist Hamdeen Sabahi. The Brotherhood is also reaching out to him for the final round.

    Essam el-Erian, the deputy leader of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, while talking to media on Friday said: “We know that we will succeed in uniting behind the initiative to save the nation and to complete the revolution.”

    Shafiq, on the other hand, managed to win the votes of about 10 per cent Christian voters.

    Interestingly, Mohamed Habib, a former deputy leader of the Brotherhood, who left the group last year in protest against its post-uprising policies, said the group should offer vice presidential positions to at least two people from outside the group.

    He suggested one could be a Christian – an idea to which Mursi himself has said he is not opposed.

    Habib voted for Abol Fotouh in the first round, but said he would now vote for Mursi. This has further brightened the prospect of Mursi.