Negar Azimi


7 July 2011

Egypt's next president?

Abdel-Moneim Abou El Fotouh, the secretary general of the Arab Medical Union and a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood since the late 1970s, announced in May that he would run in Egypt’s presidential elections as an independent candidate. The Brotherhood has been cautious about the political openings afforded by the fall of Mubarak. They have launched a political party – the Freedom and Justice Party – but insist they have no interest in fielding a candidate for the presidency. In June, Abou El Fotouh was expelled from the organisation. When I went to see him a few days ago, Abou El Fotouh – who with his colourful ties and thick glasses has more of the air of a popular physics professor than an ideologue of Egypt’s oldest and most organised Islamist movement – didn’t want to talk about his quarrel with the Brotherhood, except to say: ‘It makes me sad.’ Then he said: ‘Never mind. If this is the new Egypt, we have a lot of work to do.’