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Egypt's ex-jihadists back moderate for presidency
Ex-jihadists back a moderate for Egyptian presidency, causing more splits in Islamist vote
By The Associated Press

CAIRO (AP) ' A former jihadist group says it will back a moderate Islamist candidate in Egypt's presidential elections, dealing a blow to the powerful Muslim Brotherhood.

Assem Abdel-Maged of the Gamaa Islamiya said on Monday that an internal poll showed that a majority in the group supported moderate Islamist Abdel-Moneim Abolfotoh.

The decision boosts Abolfotoh's chances in the Gamaa's strongholds in southern Egypt and leaves the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's largest political group, more isolated as it moves closer to a confrontation with Egypt's ruling generals.



In a surprise decision, an influential group of ultraconservative Salafis said last week it was supporting Abolfotoh for the May 23-24 vote.

The Brotherhood won just under half the seats in parliament in recent elections.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

CAIRO (AP) ' A former jihadist group says it will back a moderate Islamist candidate for Egypt's president, dealing a blow to the powerful Muslim Brotherhood.

Assem Abdel-Maged of the Gamaa Islamiya said on Monday that an internal poll showed that a majority in the group supported moderate Islamist Abdel-Moneim Abolfotoh.

The decision boosts Abolfotoh's chances in the Gamaa's strongholds in southern Egypt and leaves the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's largest political group, more isolated as it moves closer to a confrontation with Egypt's ruling generals.

In a surprise decision, an influential group of ultraconservative Salafis said last week it was supporting Abolfotoh for the May 23-24 vote.

The Brotherhood won just under half the seats in parliament in recent elections.


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