The deputy head of the Freedom and Justice party (FJP) Essam El-Erian announced through his personal twitter account on Tuesday that he shall contest the FJP’s leadership elections, due to be held on 19 October.
“I’ve consulted those whose opinion I highly respect; I’ve asked guidance from God, and in accordance to the principles of freedom, consultation and democracy and for the greater good of the party and the calling, I shall draw an application for running for the party’s leadership elections today at 11 am.” El-Erian tweeted.
The tweet confirmed rumours which have been circulating for the last couple of days. On Saturday, El-Erian denied to the FJP portal reports that he said he would not run in the elections.
The only other declared candidate so far is the former party secretary general and speaker of the dissolved People’s Assembly, Saad El-Katatny, who on Monday announced his intention to run in the elections on the FJP’s official website.
Both candidates are likely to face strong opposition, with Mohamed El-Beltagy, the secretary general of the party’s Cairo branch, and Amr Derag, head of the party’s foreign affairs committee, both being touted as potential candidates.
Derag has not officially announced he will run, but refused to rule it out when asked. He was recently appointed into the party’s executive committee to fill the seat vacated by Mohamed Morsy.
Meanwhile, amid news reports confirming that he was considering running for the elections, prominent FJP lawyer Ahmed Abu Baraka, told the Daily News Egypt otherwise.
“This is all untrue,” he said, referring to the rumours, “I shall not be running for the elections.”
The period for nominations started on Monday and will end on 10 October. There will follow a three-day window for appeals and the elections will be held on 19 October.
Members of the party general conference, essentially all party members, are eligible to run for the position of chairman, provided they collect 100 endorsements.
The FJP has been without a chairman since president Mohamed Morsy stepped down from the position after winning Egypt’s presidential elections in June.
Since that time, El-Erian has been acting-chairman of the party.
Additional reporting by Ahmed Aboul Enein