Shafiq warns against Islamist victory

2012-05-23 20:10
Cairo - A front runner in Egypt's presidential election, former premier Ahmed Shafiq, told AFP Wednesday the country would face "huge problems" if his Islamist rivals won as Egyptians flocked to the polls on the first day of voting.

Shafiq added that voters had made a "mistake" by allowing the Muslim Brotherhood to win in earlier parliamentary elections.

Shafiq, who also held a news conference to disprove last minute rumours suggesting he was ill, said he was gaining support because voters believed he could "stop" the powerful Muslim Brotherhood.

His main rivals include ex-foreign minister and Arab League chief Amr Mussa, former Brotherhood member Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh and the Brotherhood's representative Mohammed Mursi.

"There would be a huge problem," Shafiq told AFP when asked about the prospect of a Muslim Brotherhood or Islamist victory.

"The Brotherhood has proved in the past months that it is completely rejected by the Egyptian people," he said.

"The Egyptian people made a big mistake in trusting the Brotherhood, and now we are suffering from their actions," he added.

Hosni Mubarak had appointed the former air force chief as his prime minister almost two weeks before the ex-president's ouster in an early 2011 uprising. Mass protests forced Shafiq to resign almost a month later.

Polls show Shafiq, who is campaigning on a law and order platform, at the forefront in the election on Wednesday and Thursday.

The ruling military which took charge after Mubarak's ouster says it will hand power to the elected president.

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