By Saad Hussein and Yasmine Saleh / Reuters
CAIRO: A veteran Egyptian politician who is close to the country’s military rulers and the powerful Muslim Brotherhood announced on Wednesday he would run in a presidential election on May 23.
Mansour Hassan, the head of the advisory council to Egypt’s military rulers and a culture and information minister under the late president Anwar Sadat, confirmed his presidential plans to Reuters by phone. State news agency MENA had previously reported he was planning to stand in the election.
“The details of my nomination will be announced in a news conference within two days,” Hassan told Reuters. His name was among those local media had listed as possible candidates.
He enjoys support from a number of political parties and may be officially endorsed by the Muslim Brotherhood’s powerful Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) that controls 51 percent of the seats of the upper and lower houses of parliament combined. In January, the FJP denied reports it had chosen Hassan as its preferred presidential candidate, and it is not likely to reveal who it is backing for some time.
None of Egypt’s political groups have yet announced who they will support in the historic vote, the first presidential election since Hosni Mubarak was ousted in a popular uprising in February last year.
Other contenders include former Arab League secretary general Amr Moussa, leading Islamist Abdel Moneim Abol Fotoh, and Ahmed Shafiq, a former prime minister and air force commander.
According to a constitutional decree issued by the military last year, presidential candidates must have the backing of either 30 elected lawmakers or 30,000 registered voters in at least 15 governorates. If no one candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote, a run-off between the two highest placed candidates will be held in June.