Leading members of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) opposition group have agreed to appoint Deputy General Guide Mohamed Habib as acting MB general guide as of the beginning of January in place of Mahdi Akef. Earlier this week, the 81-year-old Akef announced his intention to step down as group leader at the end of this month.
According to MB sources, Habib will retain the position until June, when elections for the group’s consultative Shura Council will be held. Elections both for general guide and Guidance Bureau membership are slated to be held shortly afterward.
Akef reportedly turned down earlier requests by leading MB members to stay on in the position until the election of a new general guide so as to avoid an "administrative vacuum." The brotherhood, said Akef, "is run according to rules and regulations, not by individuals."
Sources also say that the five bureau members appointed last year would have to run in upcoming elections in order to retain their posts. While some had opined that the five should be exempted from upcoming elections, roughly two thirds of group leaders, at a recent meeting with Akef, objected to this scenario.
Leading MB member Gamal Heshmat said that elections would serve to resolve recent disputes over the appointment of Essam el-Erian to the bureau–a move strongly opposed by many group members. "El-Erian is highly-qualified, but he must be elected by the Shura Council," said Heshmat, noting that the group was currently undergoing a process of "change."
Translated from the Arabic Edition.