In January 2016, Azzam al-Ayoubi was elected head of Al-Jama’a al-Islamiyya in Lebanon for three years as a successor to Ibrahim al-Masry.
Founded in 1964 as the Lebanese branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Sunni group will either elect a new head or extend al-Ayoubi’s time in office by 2019.
The group is currently suffering a state of confusion as it seeks new allies to join a more weighted scale, such as joining the front supporting Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri after a break that lasted for a year.
Moreover, the Islamist group is witnessing an internal division that sparked after the resign of former head of the political bureau Assaad Harmouche in April, as this resignation revealed that the true authority within the party lies only in the hand of the secretary-general.
This division will affect the incoming election, especially that some members are objecting Ayoubi’s candidacy, in light of the recent losses the group endured after they failed to win any seats at the parliament.
Lebanese political analyst Fady Akoum said the group appears to be preparing to nominate former deputy Imad El-Hout, considering his connections and active personality.
He added in an interview with The Reference that Hout can play a significant role during the coming period, especially that Lebanon is witnessing complex political changes.
Akoum also pointed out that Al-Hout has a better chance of winning the candidacy than Bassam Hamoud, head of the politburo.