Former Brotherhood leader prays group will lose presidential race

A former Muslim Brotherhood supreme guide said Tuesday he is praying that the Brotherhood’s presidential bid will fail. 

“The presidency is more of a heavy burden than a reward,” Mahdi Akef told Mehwar satellite channel late Tuesday in an interview reported by Al-Masry Al-Youm, parts of which were also quoted by state-run Al-Ahram and independent daily Al-Shorouk.

Akef said he was against the group’s decision to field a presidential candidate in the first place.

Akef said the Brotherhood and its Freedom and Justice Party are one inseparable entity, contradicting occasional remarks by members of the two groups that they are separate. He said major decisions are made through consensus between the group and party leaders.

The group announced it would back FJP chairman Mohamed Morsy in the presidential election after the Presidential Elections Commission disqualified its former nominee, Khairat al-Shater, on Tuesday.

The Brotherhood’s decision to field a candidate in the race sparked a political controversy after repeated pledges it would not. Many accused the Brotherhood of attempting to dominate power in post-revolution Egypt, especially after the group won a plurality of seats in the parliamentary elections.

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