Shafiq: No going back to the former regime

AFP , Saturday 26 May 2012

Mubarak's last prime minister tells 'revolutionary youth' he will restore an uprising he claims has been 'hijacked' by the Muslim Brotherhood

Ahmed Shafiq in the press conference
Ahmed Shafiq speaks in the press conference (Photo: Bassem El Zoghby)

Presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq held a press conference at his official campaign headquarters in Dokki where he addressed the public as well as the nation's political forces and fellow contenders in the presidential race.

The former premier faced questions about his time serving the regime of former president Hosni Mubarak, promising there would be no return to the old regime.

"I pledge now, to all Egyptians, we shall start a new era. There is no going back," he said. "We must accept the results."

Addressing the youth who spearheaded the 2011 revolt that led to the ouster of Mubarak, he said: "your revolution has been hijacked and I am committed to bringing it back," in an apparent reference to the Muslim Brotherhood, which already controls parliament. Appointed prime minister by Mubarak during the revolution, Shafiq was forced to resign after massive popular protests.

Shafiq also addressed the revolutionary April 6th Youth Movement and Ultras, football fans who have played a signfiicant role over the past year in popular mobilisations, and promised he would open youth centers for them.

After a campaign in which he unleashed attacks at other candidates, Shafiq tried to strike a concilliatory note, thanked and reached out to other presidential candidates. "I reach out to all the partners," he said, "and I pledge that we will all work together for the good of Egypt."

Shafiq praised Hamdeen Sabbahi, who running on a revolution ticket came in a surprise third place in the polls, describing him as a revolutionary young man.

With regard to political alliances in the build up to the runoff, where he will be facing Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi on 16 and 17 June, Shafiq confirmed that there will be talks with other political powers but that the only real alliance he has is with the people of Egypt.

'I promise that the first decision I will take when I am president will be to give full citizenship rights to the Bediouns in Sinai and the Western desert" Shafiq declared in his press conference adding that he will implement full social and medical insurance for all citizens in the country.

In a continuation of a major plank of his presidential campaign, he also promised to restore security and stability in the country in the first months of his rule if elected president.

In response to a question about accusations of rigging and violations during the presidential polls, Shafiq answered "What happened happened and we should accept the results hoping to change any flaws in the future." 

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