Egyptian candidate blasts Islamist MP

2012-05-15 07:51

kalahari.com

  • Hosni Mubarak
    The challenges and obstacles Hosni Mubarak's presidency has endured Now R572.00
    buy now
Cairo - A leading Egyptian presidential candidate has lashed out at an Islamist lawmaker who accused him of graft, treating voters to a new spectacle in an already unprecedentedly heated campaign.

These are the first competitive presidential elections in the country's modern history, and in the last week of the campaign period the candidates are facing a level of public scrutiny rarely seen before in Egyptian politics — including televised debates, interviews and legal challenges.

The front-runners include two former officials from the era of deposed president Hosni Mubarak and two Islamist candidates. They have clashed over the role of religion, the degree to which the country needs to change, and whether politicians from the old Egypt should hold office in the new.

The 24-24 May vote follows 29 years of Mubarak's autocratic rule. He was the sole candidate in all but one of the presidential contests in that period, and it would have been unthinkable for him to have to face such questions.

Mubarak was forced from power by a popular uprising in February 2011. A ruling military council took over and has promised to hand over power to a civilian president by 30 June.

Official campaigning began two weeks ago. On Thursday, an Islamist candidate and a former foreign minister participated in the Arab world's first-ever public presidential debate, in which they traded accusations about each other's political history.

Now Ahmed Shafiq, a former air force pilot and Mubarak's last prime minister who is seen by some as the military's preferred candidate, is the latest contestant to have to answer for his record.

Unpredictable political system

Islamist lawmaker Essam Soltan accused Shafiq of using his offices as a head of an air force pilots' association in the 1990s to sell a large plot of state land at a below-market price to Mubarak's sons.

Soltan raised the accusations in parliament and filed a complaint to the public prosecutor on Sunday. The prosecutors are currently investigating the case.

Shafiq swiftly denied the accusations, saying it was part of a "defamation campaign" against him by the Islamist-dominated parliament.

This is not Shafiq's first brush with Egypt's new unpredictable political system. He was already briefly disqualified from the race after the Islamist-dominated parliament passed a law barring former top regime officials from the past 10 years from running for office. But he was reinstated 24 hours later after the presidential election commission referred the law to the Constitutional Court.

In his Monday press conference, Shafiq took a jab at the parliament and at Soltan personally, saying they were on a campaign to hinder his rise.

He said he wanted "to answer to these fabrications Soltan is throwing my way arbitrarily as part of an organised defamation campaign".

He threw out an accusation of his own, accusing Soltan of being a regime agent who spied on the protesters at the height of the uprising that brought Mubarak down. Shafiq also accused him of being used by security agencies to carry out sting operations against other Islamists, including the Muslim Brotherhood.

Islamist groups were Mubarak's best organised opponents and were the main target of his crackdowns.

Aggression and wrongdoing  

"All he wished was to lick shoes to be allowed to form his own party," Shafiq said. "I wish that when someone acts like a man, he is a man all his life."

Soltan dismissed Shafiq's accusations as "unsubstantiated", mocking what he said was a transformation from a Mubarak loyalist to a champion of the opposition.

Both sides are playing to fears about their opponents: the Islamists suggesting that the former regime officials will take the country back to the days of Mubarak, and the former officials suggesting that the Islamist candidates will impose a hard-line religious agenda.

The powerful Muslim Brotherhood, which is also fielding a candidate, posted on its website on Friday a religious edict, or fatwa, saying it was religiously banned to vote for the two former regime officials.

"Giving votes to people like these amounts to co-operation with them in aggression and wrongdoing, and failing the honest. ...We urge all Muslims — all honourable Egyptians — not to fall for this trap," the edict said.

Thirteen candidates are listed for the 23-24 May vote. If as expected no candidate takes a majority, a run-off between the top two will take place 16-17 June, and a president is to be declared on 21 June.

- AP

Read more on:    hosni mubarak  |  egypt  |  north africa  |  egypt elections 2012
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Movies
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Wednesday Cape Town - 20:17 PM
    Road name: MetroRail
    Due to extensive vandalism on the Central Line a limited Bus Service will operate between Nyanga/Chris Hani and Nyanga/Kapteinsklip - EXPECT DELAYS
  • Wednesday Montague Gardens - 19:58 PM
    Road name: Montague Drive
    ROADWORKS - lane closures both directions for BRT lane construction - expect DELAYS
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Deal of the Week!

Get bestselling John Green novels now just R99 each! Hurry and get yours while stocks last. Shop here.

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Apple iPad 3 Black 64GB 9.7" Tablet With WiFi & 4G

Retina Display Finally the incredible Retina display technology from the iPhone...

From R7999.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

It is always easier to look out and see what needs changing. Looking in is a lot harder... Today you may need to look at what...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.