3 Apr 2012

Mixed response to presidential election move

5:39 am on 3 April 2012

There's been mixed reaction in Egypt to a decision by the Muslim Brotherhood to nominate its deputy leader Khairat al-Shatar, as the party's candidate in presidential elections in May.

The announcement was a u-turn in policy. During last year's uprising, it said that it would not field a candidate.

The BBC reports the move will raise concerns among liberals and the military that the Brotherhood could become too powerful.

The movement's political arm now has nearly half the seats in parliament election.

But it complains that attempts to form a new cabinet have been blocked and there have been threats to dissolve parliament.

In a statement on Saturday, the Muslim Brotherhood said it had reversed its decision not to contest the presidency to overcome risks to Egypt's revolution and the transfer from military to civilian rule.

Mr Shatir, 62, a wealthy businessman, has long been a senior member of the Islamist group and its main financier.

He spent 12 years in prison because of his connection with the Brotherhood, which was previously banned. He was released only after last year's uprising.