Shafiq and Morsi (Photo: Ahram Online)
Presidential finalist Ahmed Shafiq held a press conference on Sunday afternoon in which he stepped up attacks on his electoral rival, Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi.
"The Brotherhood persists in tarnishing the image of anyone who opposes its candidate," Shafiq stated.
He went on to say that, while there were "pressing issues" that needed to be addressed, including a chronic energy crisis, "the Brotherhood chooses to focus its efforts on smear campaigns, reflecting its lack of understanding of the people's needs."
"They are also offering bribes to encourage supporters and thugs to attack my campaign headquarters, and have spread rumours questioning my religious piety,” Shafiq claimed.
The Brotherhood had used its newfound parliamentary powers to pass an "illegitimate law," Shafiq continued, in reference to a Political Disenfranchisement Law, which, if put into effect, would disqualify him from the race. He further stated that the Brotherhood had exploited its parliamentary authority to bribe voters in exchange for their support – an assertion for which he claimed to have “evidence.”
Shafiq added that he had lodged an official complaint against the Brotherhood’s use of mosques for campaigning activities.
"Eighty per cent of Egypt’s mosques are currently being used for personal campaigning for Morsi,” he said. “God’s houses should only be used for worship."
Shafiq claimed to be fighting a "clean political battle," while the Brotherhood, he said, was “a group that continues to prove day by day that it is hungry for power and blinded by its domination of state institutions.”
The Brotherhood, he continued, "lives in the past and is blinded by ignorance."
Briefly touching on international politics, Shafiq went on to stress that the Palestinian issue was “key,” saying that he would personally exert all efforts to ensure the liberation of Palestinians with Jerusalem as their capital.
Morsi and Shafiq are set to face off in a hotly-contested runoff vote on 16 and 17 June.