Egypt's Shafiq says won't run for presidency if El-Sisi does

Ahram Online , Monday 9 Sep 2013

Former PM Ahmed Shafiq says he might run again for presidency, but will back Army Chief if he stands

Ahmed Shafiq
Former Egyptian presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq (Photo: AP)

Ahmed Shafiq, runner up in Egypt's 2012 presidential polls, said on Sunday he would not rule out running for the presidency again if people "insist and commission" him for the post.

However, Shafiq, prime minister under former autocratic president Hosni Mubarak, said he would not run for the presidency if Army Chief Abdel Fatah El-Sisi decides to stand as a candidate in the elections.

"It all depends on whether El-Sisi will run," said Shafiq in a late-night interview on satellite TV channel Dream. "If he does, he will have priority ... and I will be one of his strongest backers," he added.

The military overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, which was led by El-Sisi in July following mass nationwide protests, has fueled speculation that the army chief is the country's de facto leader and that he might run for office.

El-Sisi, however, has repeatedly denied this is his aim, saying that protecting the will of the people is a "greater honour," in reference to mass protests in July demanding an end to Morsi's one-year rule.

Shafiq lost to Islamist president Morsi in the 2012 presidential run-off, garnering 48% of the votes as opposed to Morsi's 51.7%.

Last May, his lawyer appealed to court alleging the poll results were rigged, claiming there were major violations of the electoral process. However, an electoral panel supervising the case recused itself days before Morsi's ouster.

The former air force pilot and prime minister, who fled to Abu Dhabi with his family in June 2012 after Morsi was declared president, said he would not come back unless all court cases against him are settled.

He also vowed to sue the toppled Islamist leader for allegations of slander and corruption against him under his rule.

Shafiq, a vociferous critic of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood movement, refused any reconciliation attempts with the Islamist movement.

"The crimes committed by all the group's strands would make any reconciliation [comparable to] blasphemy ," he said.

Egypt has been rocked by political turmoil since Islamist President Mohamed Morsi was ousted by the army on 3 July, in what his supporters have called a "military coup." More than 1,000 people, including 100 security officers, have been killed in street violence since Morsi's ouster, making it the bloodiest unrest in the country's modern history.

There has been a recent wave of arrests of prominent leaders of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood and at least 2,000 other Islamists and supporters, tens of whom have been charged with 'inciting violence and murder.'

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