Muslim Brotherhood names presidential candidate
Egypt’s moderate Islamist Muslim Brotherhood on Saturday named deputy chairman Khairat al-Shater as its candidate in the country’s presidential elections in late May. The vote will be the first since former leader Hosni Mubarak’s ouster last year.
AFP - Khairat al-Shater, who was nominated on Saturday by Egypt's powerful Muslim Brotherhood to stand for president, is the group's key financier and its long-time chief whip.
The 61-year-old professor of engineering will be a candidate in the first presidential election in the country since a popular uprising ousted veteran leader Hosni Mubarak in February last year.
Shater said on Saturday he was resigning as deputy chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood after the group picked him to stand in the presidential election which is scheduled for May 23 and 24.
"After it was decided to field my name in the presidential elections, I can only accept the decision of the Brotherhood. I will therefore resign from my position as deputy chairman," he said in a statement read out by the Brotherhood's Supreme Guide, Mohammed Badie.
Reputed to be the organisation's chief whip and known to be one of its key financiers, Shater holds a lot of sway over Egypt's most powerful and most organised political group, its members have said.
He joined the Islamist group in 1981 after years as a student activist, and was promoted to its executive bureau, known as the Guidance Council, in 1995.
Shater has been jailed several times, most recently in 2006 when a military court sentenced him to seven years for terrorism and money laundering, after his assets were frozen.
While in jail, Shater managed Brotherhood affairs and oversaw his business empire from his prison cell, according to press reports.
He was released last March, just a month after Mubarak was toppled.
Shater's business empire is said to be the main source of funding for the Islamist group.
Born in on May 4, 1950 in the Nile Delta province of Daqahliya, Shater earned a degree in engineering from Alexandria University and a master's in engineering from Mansura University.
In a 2005 op-ed in Britain's Guardian newspaper, Shater urged readers "not to be afraid" of the Muslim Brotherhood, after the banned group clinched a fifth of the seats in parliament under Mubarak by fielding candidates as "independents."
"The success of the Muslim Brotherhood should not frighten anybody: we respect the rights of all religious and political groups," he wrote.
Shater has lived in Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Britain. He is married and has 10 children and 10 grandchildren.