Brotherhood rift deepens as two key leaders resign

Ibrahim al-Zaafarani, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Shura Council, and Abdel Moneim Abouel Fotouh, one of the the Brotherhood's iconic leaders, have both officially resigned from the group. Some other members will also be resigning this week.

This development has been described as the most serious rift within the group since a faction broke away in 1996 to found their own party, the Wasat Party.

Al-Zaafarani told Al-Masry Al-Youm that he and Abul Fotouh submitted their resignations, adding that another group of Brotherhood members will announce theirs in a press conference this week. They are likely to join either the Nahda Party or the Wasat Party, he said.

Al-Zaafarani said that Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie's statement that members may not join parties other than the group’s planned Freedom and Justice Party was one reason behind his resignation. “This statement was criticized by many within the group,” he said, adding that Badie wants members to remain closed and focused on themselves.

The Brotherhood lacks an internal accountability mechanism, he said, adding that the rules which governed its work before the 25 January Revolution are no longer suitable.

The Freedom and Justice Party will not be a separate entity, he said. “I think the party will not be independent from the group because the Supreme Guide has already selected one of the key leaders of the new party."

He added that if Abouel Fotouh joins the Nahda Party, hundreds of Brotherhood youth will follow suit. The party will be conservative, will uphold the freedom of is members and will represent a strong competitor to the Brotherhood, he said.

Several members of the Brotherhood’s Guidance Bureau declined to comment, saying only that they wish them luck and that the Brotherhood will not be affected by members' resignations.

Al-Zaafarani and Abouel Fotouh’s resignations follow the departure of Haytham Abou-Khalil, who also resigned because he rejected the internal regulations of the group.

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