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‘Brotherhood leadership in talks with liberal members of reform movement’

By Taylor Luck - May 22,2014 - Last updated at May 22,2014

AMMAN — The Muslim Brotherhood opened talks late Wednesday between its liberal and conservative factions over a realignment in leadership of its political arm to heal a growing split over the dismissal of three veteran members last month.

As part of negotiations over the return of leading liberal figures Rheil Gharaibeh, Jamal Dheisat and Nabil Kofahi to the movement, Islamist leaders opened discussions on ceding leading positions in the movement’s Islamic Action Front (IAF) to the liberal wing.

According to sources close to the proceedings, former senator and veteran leader Abdul Latif Arabiyat, who was tasked by the Brotherhood’s conservative leadership to reach out to the trio, has offered to cede the position of IAF secretary general and executive council to members of the liberal wing.

Under the discussions, the Brotherhood’s conservative faction — which currently dominates the group’s central leadership — will stand down for next month’s internal elections to allow liberal favourite Salem Falahat to run for the post uncontested.

As of late Thursday, it was unclear whether the offer was welcomed by the expelled members, who had previously called for an overhaul in the Brotherhood’s central leadership, not just its political arm.

The Brotherhood’s internal court had decided to expel the three men over their involvement in the establishment of the National Building Initiative (Zamzam) on the grounds that the coalition may stand as a rival political movement to the group.

Zamzam founders have remained steadfast in their refusal to return to the movement until it undertakes transparent, democratic internal reforms, maintaining that their initiative does not pose a threat to the movement. 

In internal polls that concluded earlier this week conservatives extended their dominance over the IAF shura council, snaring over 40 of its 70 seats that were up for election. 

Outgoing IAF Secretary General Hamzah Mansour and shura council president Ali Abu Sukkar are known “moderates” who maintained close ties with the liberal and conservative factions. 

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