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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 September 2018

Former Egyptian prime minister retracts bid for presidency

Being abroad for five years has affected my ability to closely follow developments in the country: Ahmed Shafiq

Ahmed Shafiq speaks during a news conference in Cairo in 2012. Khaled Elfiqi / EPA
Ahmed Shafiq speaks during a news conference in Cairo in 2012. Khaled Elfiqi / EPA

Egypt’s former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq announced on Sunday his withdrawal from the upcoming elections in May.

Shafiq was seen as the most serious potential challenger to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in an election due early in the year, though Mr Sisi has yet to officially announce his candidacy.

“I have realized that I am not ideal candidate to lead the county’s affairs in the coming period, for this reason I have decided not to run in the upcoming presidential elections,” Mr Shafiq said in a statement.

“Being abroad for five years has affected my ability to closely follow developments in the country," he said.

In late November, Mr Shafiq announced his bid to run for presidency in a televised address from his home in the UAE.

"I'm honoured to announce my will to run in the upcoming presidential elections in Egypt as a choice to be president of the country for the next four years," said Mr Shafiq, who thanked the UAE, its leadership and people for hosting him "with all dignity".

The 76-year-old, an ex-air force commander and former aviation minister, narrowly lost a presidential election to Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Mursi in 2012 before fleeing for the United Arab Emirates, where he has lived since.

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