Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood to seek civil state run ‘without repression’
CAIRO, Dec. 22 (Xinhua) — The Muslim Brotherhood (MB) in Egypt is on the way to power as it ranks the first in votes based on initial results of the first two stages of voting for the People’s Assembly (the lower house of parliament).
“We hope to achieve the first rank in the third stage, but in the end we will accept and respect the people’s choices,” said Mahmoud Ghazlan, spokesman for the MB, the best organized and largest political group in the country, in a recent exclusive interview with Xinhua.
Ghazlan, also a member of the group’s guidance bureau, said the MB had worked for more than 80 years with the Egyptian people and offered services in all fields. “They know us and our ethics very well,” he added.
As for the parliamentary vote, he said he did not want to predict its results but the people themselves would decide how many seats they would give the MB.
It’s clear from the first two stages that the seats in the People’s Assembly to be obtained by the MB will range from 40 percent to 50 percent, he said.
The MB in Egypt was founded in 1928, but officially banned in 1954. It underwent ideological transformation as Egypt returned to multi-party elections under the eras of Anwar Sadat and Hosni Mubarak. But it could propose candidates as independents in previous parliament elections. In 2005, it surprisingly won one fifth of the seats in the People’s Assembly, but was forced completely out of the legislature in the 2010 vote, which was allegedly rigged.
The group became the most influential one after the fall of ex- president Hosni Mubarak in February amid anti-government protests and the dissolution of Mubarak-led National Democratic Party. The MB founded its own Freedom and Justice Party in May, as its political arm to run in elections.
“We believe in a civil state rather than a military or theocratic state as like the situation in the Middle Ages in Europe,” said Ghazlan.
“If we reform some things, it will be through persuasion and dialogue and an appropriate atmosphere for people to accept them without repression,” he said.
About alcohol, it is prohibited to Muslims but Christians living in Egypt have the right to make and drink it, he cited.
In the Mubarak era, Egypt was easily influenced by certain big Western powers, but in the coming period, no one can interfere with Egypt’s domestic affairs, he said, adding that Egypt will maintain its dignity and treat all countries with the principle of mutual respect.
“Now the United States tries to keep contact with us. It starts to talk with us to seek its interests in Egypt and to know our points of view and how we will deal with them. But it is obvious that we will change our old policy,” he said.
Regarding the relations with Israel, Ghazlan said the peace treaty will be reviewed in the People’s Assembly and amended to become a balanced one if the legislature finds it is not fair.
“We respect the international treaties but if we find it’s unfair we will amend it,” he said.
The senior MB official appreciates Egypt-China relations. “We welcome cooperation with China, a big country with successful economic development,” he said. “There is no doubt that we are keen to cooperation in various fields with China. We seek to have a close and strong relationship (with China).”
Over the past ten months, Egypt has witnessed repeated protests, giving a heavy blow to the country’s economy, especially the tourism and investment sectors.
“Always in the transitional period after any revolution, there will be turbulences and problems like what we see now,” he said. ” But the way out of this is to speedily hold the elections and transfer power from the military council to an elected civil authority. Only by doing this can we achieve stability and move the wheel of production again.”
“The current clashes in the Egypt’s street are temporary and these prospects will end after forming a parliament, government, constitution and president,” he said, blaming the ruling military council for lack of experience in managing the civil life.
“We are Muslims, but we have an accordance with the liberals because we all Egyptians have to cooperate with each other in favor of this country. I think that to solve the country’s problems we have to cooperate with all powers and factions,” said Ghazlan.
“After electing the parliament, we will put a plan and we welcome and cooperate with anyone who agrees on it,” he said.
The economical freedom, educational policy and others will be conducted in the Egyptian community and all of those will lead to reducing poverty and unemployment, said the MB official, elaborating on its goals.
“Freedom, economic renaissance, social relations and scientific achievement are going to be realized. Egypt will see a revival after restoring stability,” he said.