Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood (MB) announced on Saturday that it had nominated deputy chairman Khairat al-Shater to be the presidential candidate, reversing its previous position of not running for presidency.
At a press conference held at the MB guidance bureau in the capital Cairo, MB general guide Mohamed Badei said that Shater had resigned from his post to run for president.
The decision came after a vote held among MB members during their Shura Council meeting during which Shater won 56 out of 108 votes.
"Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) parliamentary authority nominates Shater for presidency," the party said on its official Facebook page.
"I would never look for any post, but I cannot refuse the group 's decision," Shater wrote down in his resignation paper read out by Badei.
MB Secretary General Mahmoud Hussein said the group decided to nominate one of its members for presidency, as there are obstacles against forming a new government representing all people, threats of dissolving the parliament, nomination of several remnants of the former regime for presidential elections and hindrance to Constituent Assembly formation.
The MB had previously insisted on not running for presidency after the fall of former President Hosni Mubarak in February last year. The FJP won the most seats in both upper and lower houses of the new parliament earlier this year.
Since the registration process began on March 10, around 1,000 figures have asked for application documents for presidential candidate. Among them, the promising figures include former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq, former Arab League chief Amr Moussa, Islamists Hazem Salah Abou Ismail and Abdel Moneim Abou Fotouh.
Adel Monem Said Aly, president of Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Center, said there were two interpretations to the MB's decision.
"First, it was the group's real intention to have their own candidate from the very beginning," said Aly. "The second is that the MB is not satisfied with the current list of candidates and could not find a suitable one to support."
It was "political maneuver", he said. Some figures rejected the demands of MB to accept candidacy, he added.
"The general public is divided. Some trust the MB and others do not," said the analyst. But "the MB or Islamic parties are not as popular as they were several months ago." He meant Islamic parties garnered more than 70 percent of the seats in the parliament elected earlier this year.
Their performance in the parliament was not good as its sessions were often full of quarrels and failed to meet the urgent aspirations of the people, analysts said.
"The MB's participation will make the presidential competition more cut-throat and interesting. And probably, a run-off will be held in June," Aly predicted.
The president vote will be held on May 23 and 24. If no candidate wins over 50 percent of the votes, a run-off will follow. The ruling military council plans to transfer power by June 30 after a president is elected.