Presidential Hopeful Abul Futouh: No Military Rule After Elections

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Egyptian presidential candidate Abdel Moneim Abul Futuh, a reformist member of the Muslim Brotherhood, speaks during an interview with AFP at his office at the doctors' syndicate in Cairo on 25 May 2011. (Photo: AFP - Khaled Desouki)

By: Serene Assir, Abdel Rahim Assi

Published Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Beirut - Set to run for Egypt’s presidency as an independent with an Islamist program, Abdel Moneim Abul Futouh is secretary-general of the Cairo-based Arab Doctors’ Union. For years, he was a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood, one who played a lead role in modernizing the organization.

Speaking at a conference in Beirut organized Monday by the American University in Cairo and the UN regional economic and social development commission in Western Asia (ESCWA), Abul Futouh told attendees that “the Egyptian revolution is ongoing. The entire system needs cleaning up.”

Long viewed as a voice for the more liberal wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, he took a position that differed at least in nuance from the organization, with regards to the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF).

“We made a mistake in trusting the SCAF following the fall of Mubarak,” he told conference attendees. “I don’t like to partake in conspiratorial thinking, but there have been serious problems with the SCAF.”

In Beirut, Abul Futouh spoke at length about there being no contradiction between Islam and civil liberties.

“It is God’s will that women should be veiled. But if women were forced by the Sultan to wear the hijab (veil), then their decision to do would inevitably be hypocritical and based on fear of the Sultan - not of God,” he said.

Al-AKhbar spoke one on one to Abul Futouh prior to his address.

Serene Assir (SA) and Abdel Rahim Assi (AA): What is your view on the Freedom and Justice Party’s (FJP) entry into Egypt’s parliament? How do you feel about its program?

Abdel Moneim Abul Futouh: The FJP is no different from any party in a democratic system. It made gains in a democratic, transparent election. Its program is patriotic, and based on Islamic values and principles.

The party represents a movement that has been struggling for 80 years in Egypt. So it is understandable that, given the opportunity to hold transparent elections, the FJP should do so well.

SA and AA: What was the reason behind your exit from the brotherhood?

AMAF: Do not ask me such a stupid question

SA and AA: It is not a stupid question.

AMAF: I will not answer.

SA and AA: Tell us about your program for the presidency.

AMAF: Pending final confirmation, the door for filing presidential candidacies should be opened on April 15. The final decision has yet to be made, but this was the agreement. Presidential elections should be complete by the end of June, by which time we should have a freely elected lower and upper house of parliament, as well as a civilian president in Egypt.

With these institutions in place, a new constitution should be made for Egypt. After the elections the Army should go back to its natural place, which is the protection of the nation’s borders.

Our program is based on two pillars. First we will ensure the new constitution develops guarantees of freedoms and the protection of human rights. We believe the basis of the new constitution should be civil rights. Secondly, we will focus on the freedom of the judiciary, to ensure the rule of law.

Once we have established these two pillars, we will focus on a broad development program for Egypt. We will begin with developing education and scientific research. The second aspect will focus on health care.

We will work to ensure that education through university level, as well as health care, are free of charge. This should guarantee stability for Egyptian families.

We will then work on other areas, as Egypt’s problems are multiple. Egypt is a rich state, but it has been impoverished as a result of corruption, theft, cheating and the selling out of the nation to its enemies both within and beyond the country’s borders.

SA and AA: What about the relationship with Israel?

AMAF: There is no relationship between the Egyptian people and Israel. The relationship was between the Egyptian government and Israel. As such the new parliament will investigate this relationship and build a new understanding of it, in order to do what suits Egypt’s interest best.

SA and AA: How do you perceive the SCAF’s methods?

AMAF: The SCAF is on its way out. We bid it farewell, because Egypt does not accept any military rule. Egypt has suffered enough under military rule.

SA and AA: What do you think about Egypt’s foreign policy towards the region, specifically Syria and the question of Palestine?

AMAF: No Egyptian foreign policy has yet been developed, so we cannot make an accurate reading yet. The current regime is transitional and it is on its way out. It doesn’t have a policy.

SA and AA: What is your reading of the US’ policy towards the Arab revolutions today?

AMAF: US policy has no importance in this regard. The Arab revolutions are popular revolutions. They have no foreign backing. They are based on the people’s support for them. They need to remain homegrown, patriotic revolutions that depend on the people and not on any foreign backing. Foreign support would do the revolutions harm.

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