The Brothers' resourcefulness

I suppose I owe a serious blog post after the previous not so serious one. I intend to return to the succession issue in Egypt shortly, but before that wanted to note that the Muslim Brothers have recently announced they will participate in the upcoming Shura Council elections by fielding 15 candidates.

In the last Shura Council elections, none of their candidates were allowed to run, though many tried. Now, they intend to have current MPs try to run for the upper house, hoping that they will benefit from parliamentary immunity during their campaign. Of course that immunity won't be extended to their campaign staff, but they are used to that. It's interesting to see this sign, however minor, of a willingness to continue the project to broaden the Brothers' electoral participation launched in 2005/06 by the former guide, Mahdi Akef. They almost certainly won't get elected, but they are putting a marker out there saying "we are entitled to contest it, and won't stop trying."

In other words, this suggest that they consider the last few years of intense repression a temporary setback, and still have in mind the post-(Hosni) Mubarak endgame of either formalizing their political role or ensuring their growth on the political scene. Food for thought after months of Brotherhood-regime negotiations about succession and the elections: even if these rumors were true, it does not mean they'll stop hedging their bets. Today's demonstration in Midan Tahrir, which included Brotherhood MPs, also suggests that part of the Brotherhood is still making political calculations — i.e. ones based on continued political participation rather than a retreat for which, in counterpart, the regime would give greater it influence on social and religious affairs.

[For background.]