Ex-PM Shafiq denies having asked Brotherhood for presidential endorsement

Ahram Online, Sunday 30 Sep 2012

Last Mubarak-era premier Ahmed Shafiq says he never asked Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood to endorse his bid for presidency, despite statements to contrary by Brotherhood officials

Former prime minister and presidential runner-up Ahmed Shafiq on Sunday denied recent statements by senior Muslim Brotherhood leader Hassan Malek about two alleged encounters last year, in which Malek claimed that Shafiq had sought the Brotherhood’s endorsement in Egypt's first post-Mubarak presidential polls.

In its Sunday issue, the official newspaper of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) published statements by Malek in which he asserted that he had met with Shafiq upon the latter’s request in July of last year, during which Shafiq had requested a meeting with FJP leaders.

According to Malek’s statements, Shafiq had said that he wanted to take FJP leaders' opinions about his presidential bid. Malek asserted that, when he passed on Shafiq's request to then-party head Mohamed Morsi (currently president of Egypt), the latter had declined the request.

Malek also said that, despite the Brotherhood’s refusal to meet with him, Shafiq had insisted, urging Malek to arrange an informal meeting with FJP leaders – but that Malek had also declined the request.

Shafiq, for his part, denied Malek’s statements and denounced the account as a fabrication.

"Everything claimed in the FJP newspaper about the meeting is a fabrication," Shafiq said on Twitter on Sunday. "I did not ask The Muslim Brotherhood for their endorsement."

FJP leader Essam El-Erian said in a Friday television interview that, in 2011, the Brotherhood had refused to meet with Shafiq because the latter had served in the ousted Mubarak regime and had been responsible for the death of unarmed protesters at the height of last year's Tahrir Square uprising when he served as Mubarak’s last prime minister.

Presidential elections, held in May/June of this year, saw the Muslim Brotherhood’s Morsi defeat Shafiq by a narrow margin.

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