No recreation of the old regime: Shafiq
CAIRO — Ahead of a June 16-17 run-off, apparent winners of the first round of Egypt’s first free presidential election, one from the Muslim Brotherhood and one Hosni Mubarak’s last premier, were Saturday reaching out to the losing candidates.
Final votes were still being counted, but unofficial results suggested that the top two vote-getters out of 12 candidates were the Brotherhood’s Mohammed Mursi and Ahmed Shafiq, a holdover from the regime of ousted president Mubarak. But in a dramatic turn-around for the former regime official, Shafiq Saturday vowed there would be no “recreation of the old regime.”
Addressing a news conference, Shafiq appeared to be trying to cast off his image as an anti-revolution candidate who spoke disparagingly about the youth groups that engineered the anti-Mubarak uprising, reaching out to all segments of society in a bid to rally voters who favored his rivals during the first-round.
A former air force commander and a personal friend of Mubarak, Shafiq was booted out of office by a wave of street protests shortly after Mubarak stepped down on Feb. 11, 2011.
And the Brotherhood said it was seeking to create a coalition of forces to challenge Shafiq, reaching out to Mursi’s former rivals, including Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh, who left the organization to run for president. “We call on all sincere political and national forces to unite to protect the revolution and to achieve the pledges we took before our great nation,” the Brotherhood said.
“The slogan now is: ‘the nation is in danger,’” Essam Al-Erian, the deputy head of the Brotherhood’s political arm, said.
Shafiq too said he would seek broad support from former rivals, calling on each of his competitors by name to join him. “I reach out to all the partners and I pledge that we would all work together for the good of Egypt,” he told the press conference.
A Shafiq-Mursi run-off looks likely to further polarize a nation that rose up against Mubarak 15 months ago but has since suffered endemic violence and a declining economy. — Agencies