Former Egyptian prime minister and presidential hopeful Ahmed Shafiq led a meeting on Thursday at a Cairo hotel with leaders of the Egyptian National Movement Party, which was founded by Shafiq, to discuss whether he would run in the upcoming presidential elections in May 2018, Al-Ahram Arabic news website reported.
“Whether or not Shafiq decides to run for president, the upcoming period will witness active participation by the party in the Egyptian political scene,” said party spokesman Khaled El-Awami.
Shafiq, who returned to Egypt earlier this month after residing in the UAE for five years, said that his presence in Egypt will allow him to assess whether he should run for president.
Shortly after arriving in Egypt, Shafiq said in a phone interview with presenter Wael El-Ebrashy on Dream TV channel that he has enjoyed full freedom of movement since arriving in Cairo, denying reports he was placed under house arrest.
The 76-year-old Shafiq served as aviation minister under former president Hosni Mubarak and briefly as prime minister during the 2011 uprising, before he was replaced in February 2012.
Shafiq narrowly lost the June 2012 presidential elections to the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi, who held the post for one year before being ousted in July 2013 following nationwide protests against his rule.
Shortly after the 2012 election, Shafiq claimed that the vote was rigged and travelled to the UAE, citing "concerns for his own safety."
While in the UAE, Shafiq was tried in absentia on a number of corruption charges, but was either acquitted or had charges against him dropped.