Mansour Hassan, the former head of the Advisory Council to the ruling military junta, has said he will not run for president, citing a lack of support due to divisions between and within political forces.
In a statement on Sunday, Hassan said that after reassessing the circumstances, he realized he would not be able to achieve the political consensus he believes in.
“Political forces that had announced their endorsement of me were divided,” he said. “Other groups informed me they will not be able to endorse me due to internal conflicts.
“What assists me in my decision is the presence of several respectful [presidential] hopefuls,” he added.
Following Hassan’s announcement, the Wafd Party is leaning toward supporting former Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa, according a number of party leaders.
The party's supreme board previously declared Hassan as its preferred candidate for president.
Wafd Vice President Bahaa Abu Shakka said Hassan’s decision to withdraw from the race was “that of a seasoned politician who knows where he stands and who doesn’t set off on misguided adventures."
He said he hoped all presidential candidates “with no real chance to win” would follow in Hassan’s footsteps, adding that Hassan’s decision shows his “foresight and unwillingness to create divisions within the political forces that support him.”
Abu Shakka told Al-Masry Al-Youm that “the only person knowledgeable on internal affairs and foreign relations is Amr Moussa, and therefore he is the candidate the party should support in the presidential election.”
He said that in Monday’s meeting, he called on members of party’s executive bureau agree to support Moussa. He went on to say that he would make the same request at Tuesday’s meeting with the party’s supreme board and parliamentary bloc, adding that he expects the party to offer its consent.
Tarek Sabak, the head of Wafd's parliamentary bloc, said, “Mansour Hassan felt the political street was not with him, that his chance of winning was very weak, and that he would not receive support from any of the political forces.”
He also said Wafd would transfer its support to Moussa, as he was “the closest to the Wafd Party’s principles and ideas.”
On Friday, Moussa, considered one of the front-runners in the race, submitted to the Presidential Elections Commission more than 30,000 signatures, which are needed for a non-partisan candidate to run.
Hassan was appointed by the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces in November as head of its civilian Advisory Council, which was tasked with providing guidance to the generals for the remainder of Egypt's post-uprising transitional period. The SCAF accepted his resignation earlier this month when he expressed his intention to run for president.
His joining in the race coincided with a political debate over the need for a consensus candidate. Rumors at the time suggested he would be backed by both the military and the Islamists that dominate Parliament.
Hassan, 75, was a stalwart of former President Anwar Sadat’s regime.