CAIRO -- Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood has announced it will field its own candidate for Egypt's presidential election on May 23.
The announcement of Khairat al Shater's selection by the Brotherhood's executive committee is a significant departure for the group, which initially vowed it would not field a candidate from within the organization. The Muslim Brotherhood's political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party, already controls nearly half of parliament.
Before he can run, Shater must win the endorsement of 30 members of parliament (he will easily do that). But he will also need a pardon from the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to overturn a previous conviction. During Hosni Mubarak's decades-long rule, Shater was imprisoned for several years more than once. A popular uprising forced Mubarak to resign in February 2011.
Shater is considered the architect of the Muslim Brotherhood's political emergence in recent years and often credited for coming up with many of the movement's policies. Shater, a millionaire businessman, also controls the group's finances.
The Muslim Brotherhood decision will certainly ring alarm bells in Washington and has already angered many in Egypt who have been warning that the Brotherhood is slowly attempting to take over all aspects of political life, including parliament, local councils, the constitutional committee and now the presidency.
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