The new Acting Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood has said that the reorganisation of the movement is intended to improve efficiency and relations.
Speaking to Al-Hiwar TV, Dr Ibrahim Mounir said that the changes may have "appeared hasty" because they were announced immediately after the detention of his predecessor Dr Mahmoud Ezzat in Egypt. However, Mounir explained that the changes were decided prior to Dr Ezzat's detention.
"The decision to announce them immediately after he was detained was to let members in Egypt know that the Brotherhood still exists," said Mounir, "and to let the [Egyptian] regime know that the movement has not died."
At the same time, he refuted claims regarding the work and organisation of the Brotherhood that emerged due to the lack of contact between several of its institutions that followed the harsh campaign against it. He insisted that there was no "plurality" in the decision-making process, and that the last word over any differences was for Dr Ezzat.
The official revealed that there were communications between the Egyptian regime and the Brotherhood three or four years ago aimed at reconciliation which would allow exiled members to return home and live without being harassed. It is believed that the former Defence Minister Hussein Tantawi was behind them.
According to Mounir, though, the Brotherhood knew that President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi himself initiated the communications. He did not say how the movement got this information. Al-Sisi apparently asked the group to recognise his legitimacy in return for releasing all of its members from prison and allowing those who are exiled to return.
The movement rejected these conditions so as not to give any legitimacy to Al-Sisi in the light of the "hard and unbearable" situation in Egypt. Mounir stressed that recognising Al-Sisi's legitimacy would be a "betrayal of the country."