Ahmed Shafiq (Photo: Ahram Online archive)
Hussein Abdel-Ghani, spokesman for Egypt's National Salvation Front (NSF) opposition umbrella group, denied recent speculation that the NSF planned to merge with Ahmed Shafiq, Mubarak-era minister and presidential runner-up, and the latter's as-yet-unlicensed Egyptian Patriotic Movement Party.
"We will not join forces with a Mubarak-appointed prime minister," Abdel-Ghani said in statements to the ONA news agency. "Besides, we haven't received any offers from anyone to join the NSF anytime soon."
He added that the NSF stood opposed to both remnants of the Mubarak regime and what he describes as "the fascism and dictatorship of the Muslim Brotherhood."
On Monday, Shafiq told Turkish news agency Anadolu that he planned to "soon" return to Egypt, where he intended to throw in his lot with the NSF.
Shafiq has been based in the UAE since he lost to Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi in Egypt's first post-Mubarak presidential poll last summer.
George Ishak, leading NSF member and liberal Constitution Party co-founder, told independent Egyptian daily Al-Watan on Monday that Shafiq was "not welcome" in the NSF.
"I don't expect Shafiq to join the NSF because he's seen as a remnant of the Mubarak regime, and the NSF represents the revolution," Ishak said.
On Tuesday, the supreme committee of Shafiq's Egyptian Patriotic Movement Party issued a statement denouncing the comments by NSF figures, including Ishak and Abdel-Ghani.
'With all due respect to NSF leaders, the refusal of Ahmed Shafiq's offer to unite opposition forces against the Muslim Brotherhood demonstrates enormous political naiveté, and is actually an extension of the Muslim Brotherhood's strategy of excluding large swathes of honourable citizens – just like what happened in Egypt's last parliamentary elections," the Patriotic Movement statement asserted.
The party went on to point out that "many of the NSF's current member-parties already include remnants of the former Mubarak regime."