The Muslim Brotherhood is mobilizing its followers and supporters on social networks to support the potential presidential candidate and former head of the “Dignity” party, Ahmed Tantawi. This comes as the group’s leaders return to the public scene, seizing the opportunity of having an opposition candidate who has announced his willingness to engage with the banned group in the country, in violation of the constitution.
Halmi Al-Gazzar, the head of the Brotherhood‘s political office, made his first appearance since 2013, stating in an interview with the Istanbul-based Al-Sharq channel that the organization supports young people taking leadership positions in the upcoming phase. He also indicated that Tantawi is the closest candidate to receive the support of the organization if he officially runs for president.
This statement sparked controversy about Tantawi’s relationship with the Brotherhood, a question that Tantawi did not answer during his election campaign, remaining silent on the matter while supporting the group’s return to the political arena.
Social media users believe that the relationship has become clear, especially after the statements of the Brotherhood leader and the intensive campaign to support Tantawi on social networks.
Accounts belonging to Brotherhood figures or supporters of the Brotherhood are running a campaign on social media under various hashtags, including #أحمد_طنطاوي_رئيس_مصر (#Ahmed_Tantawi_President_of_Egypt) and #توكيلي_لاحمد_الطنطاوي (#Authorize_Ahmed_Tantawi). These accounts include real Brotherhood figures as well as hundreds of Brotherhood-affiliated electronic accounts responsible for defending Tantawi as a potential presidential candidate, promoting his statements, and attacking anyone who criticizes him.
In addition to the online campaign, Brotherhood-affiliated channels and platforms are playing a parallel role in traditional media, promoting the idea of the bold and courageous candidate Ahmed Tantawi. One of these channels is Al-Sharq, managed by Ayman Nour and his media team through their programs and personal accounts.
Activists link this Brotherhood mobilization to defend and support Tantawi in his potential presidential campaign to his meeting with Ayman Nour in Beirut several months ago and what transpired during that meeting. Nour later revealed the details of the meeting, saying that any meetings held in 2023 with potential candidates, whether in Beirut, Paris, or Istanbul, were personal meetings and did not delve into presidential elections. They were only to discuss the minimum guarantees required before entering the elections. However, Al-Sharq channel’s media campaign suggests otherwise.
Tantawi returned to Cairo in May, citing the reason for his visit to Beirut as studying and preparing himself academically and practically. He hinted at his intention to run for the presidential elections, saying, “I return to fulfill my duty in presenting the democratic civil alternative that Egypt needs and that its great people deserve.”
Many political parties and prominent political figures rejected Tantawi’s election statements. Hisham Abdel Aziz, the head of the Reform and Renaissance Party, expressed his dissatisfaction with the potential candidate’s orientations and his welcome of the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood‘s return to the Egyptian political scene.
Abdel Aziz stated in press statements that anyone who welcomes the return of the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood to the Egyptian political scene is a failure, politically suicidal, and a traitor to the nation.
Member of Parliament Farida El Shobashi also criticized the statements of the general coordinator of the Tantawi campaign, saying that the presidential program of the potential candidate welcomes the Muslim Brotherhood and their return to the Egyptian political scene. She added, “This means that Ahmed Tantawi is not Egyptian and does not understand the meaning of being Egyptian, as Egyptians are closely connected to this land.”
Nagi El-Shihabi, the head of the Generation Party, expressed his dismay at the same statements, noting that they deviate from the official public consensus that rejected the return of the Muslim Brotherhood, who have committed violent crimes and carried arms.
The National Election Authority officially announced the dates for receiving presidential candidacy applications in Egypt’s upcoming 2024 elections.
The National Election Authority stated that receiving presidential candidacy applications will begin on October 5, 2023, and continue until October 14. The preliminary list of candidate names and the numbers of their supporters will be announced and published in newspapers on October 17 and 18, 2023. The applications for objections from candidates will be received on October 17 and 18, 2023. The examination of candidacy applications and the resolution of objections will take place on October 19, 20, and 21, 2023.