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Muslim Brotherhood to expel Egyptian presidential candidates

CAIRO — A senior official of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood said on Thursday that the group would expel any member who runs for president, after a leading Brotherhood reformer was quoted as saying he might stand.

Abdel Moneim Abolfotouh, a former member of the Islamist group’s politburo, told the Al-Shorouk newspaper he had decided to stand in the election scheduled for November even though the Brotherhood said it would not nominate a candidate.

“Any member of the Muslim Brotherhood who nominates himself for the presidency will be expelled, because it is a violation of the Brotherhood’s collective decision,” said Sobhi Saleh, a senior official.

Saleh said he could not comment on Abolfotouh’s candidacy in particular because the group has not yet been officially notified of his intention to run.

The Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper said that the Brotherhood, which recently formed a party to contest up to half of the seats in parliamentary elections scheduled for September, has already begun investigating members who joined Abolfotouh’s campaign.

The reformist doctor told the paper that he had tentatively decided to run but will reserve his final decision until the law regulating the election is drafted.

The Muslim Brotherhood, which was banned before a revolt overthrew president Hosni Mubarak in February, wants an Islamist state achieved through peaceful means.

In the past, the group registered its parliamentary candidates as independents to circumvent a ban on the group in particular and religious parties in general.

It says its recently formed Freedom and Justice party is independent of the group and non-theocratic.

But secular groups who spearheaded the revolt that overthrew Mubarak fear they will not have time to organise themselves ahead of the September election, while the Brotherhood strikes alliances with other Islamists ahead of the vote.

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