Former Hamas minister arrives in Ismailia to cast his vote

Mahmoud al-Zahar, the former foreign minister in the Hamas government, has arrived in Ismailia to cast his vote in the Egyptian presidential elections.

The Hamas official, who lost his son in the 2008 Israeli war on the Gaza Strip, has recently obtained the Egyptian citizenship through his Egyptian mother. An estimated 11,000 Palestinian nationals hold Egyptian citizenship and have the right to vote in the elections.

"Now I can, for the first time, exercise my rights as an Egyptian citizen,” he said.

He declined to disclose the polling station he is registered at. “I do not want the media to know,” he said.

Earlier in May, the Saudi satellite channel Al Arabiya that Zahar will travel to Egypt to vote for an Islamist presidential candidate who will best serve the Palestinian cause.

“I will cast my vote in Egypt’s presidential elections, and I think if the opportunity is given to all Palestinian people they will vote for a candidate who is able to best serve the Palestinian cause,” Zahar told Al Arabiya.

“I will vote for an Islamist candidate who has a vision more than simply reforming the current situation, and this not partisanship or fanaticism. The Islamic project is politically and economically comprehensive,” Zahar said. He did not mention which Islamist candidate he plans to vote for. The main Islamist contenders in this month’s Egyptian elections are former Muslim Brother Abdel Moneim Abouel Fotouh, Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammad Morsy, and Mohamed Selim al-Awa.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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