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Sunday, 3 December 2017

Ahmed Shafik declares presidential run, political circus ensues

Ahmed Shafik declares presidential run: Like the drawn out sequels of bad 1980s movies, Mubarak-era Civil Aviation Minister and 2012 presidential candidate Ahmed Shafik announced from exile in the UAE his intention to run for president again in early 2018 on Wednesday, Reuters reports. He becomes the second candidate to throw his hat in the ring after human rights lawyer Khaled Ali. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi is widely expected to run in 2018, but has said he will only make an announcement after his state of the nation address.

Rocky start to Shafik campaign has us going “eeh?”: The announcement was followed by a confusing statement Shafik made on Al Jazeera on Friday that the UAE had prevented his travel outside the country. “I was surprised that I was prevented from leaving the UAE for reasons I do not understand,” Shafik said, adding that he thanked the UAE for its hospitality but wished to depart. UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash denied on his official Twitter account that any restrictions had been placed to his travel, saying the UAE hosted him despite “strong reservations about some of his positions.”

UAE arrest and deportation back to Egypt? Emirati authorities “came and took” Shafik from his home in Abu Dhabi and deported him back to Egypt on a private plane, Shafik’s daughter tells Reuters. Shafik is said to have landed in Cairo at around 8 pm last night “amid tightened security,” the Associated Press reports. Dina Adly, a lawyer representing Shafik, claimed in a Facebook post earlier on Saturday that he had been arrested by UAE authorities and deported back to Egypt. The story is getting plenty of coverage in the international press, including from the NYT’s David Kirkpatrick and Nour Youssef.

An Ikhwan side-show: The Ikhwan “naturally” support Shafik’s candidacy as a military man who can challenge President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, Al Wasat party member Mohamed El Deeb says, Ahram Gate reports. A former Ikhwan MP also says the Ikhwan are rallying behind Shafik as the “only scenario to end the current miserable scenario.” The statements naturally gave rise to rumors that the former prime minister has formed a secret alliance with the outlawed Ikhwan, which reportedly led to several resignations from within his political party, Youm7 reports.

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