Egypt: Presidential candidate Shafik lashes out at Muslim Brotherhood rival Mursi


Egyptian protestors gathered in Tahrir Monday night with reports of violent clashes with thugs, while presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq had his campaign HQ torched.


John Moore

CAIRO, Egypt -- Presidential candidate Ahmed Shafik, a former minister under ousted leader Hosni Mubarak, today attacked rival Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Mursi as anti-Mubarak protests continue to shake Cairo, reported BBC News.

Demonstrations over the verdict given to Egypt's ousted leader have been ongoing since Saturday.

More from GlobalPost: Egypt: Anger at Mubarak's verdict

Shafik, speaking to reporters from a heavily-protected five-star hotel outside Cairo today, said Mursi's leadership would only increase sectarian tensions in Egypt, reported Reuters.

"I represent a civil state, the Brotherhood represents a sectarian Brotherhood state. I represent moving forward, they represent going backwards," Reuters quoted Shafik as saying. "Women of Egypt, I will not permit that the powers of extremism take you back to the dark ages," he added.

The comments are seen as a bid for Egypt's centrist voters, many of whom were disappointed to see their favored candidates lose out in the election's first round last week. 

However, many liberals view Shafik with suspicion due to his career under Mubarak as well as his controversial leadership as temporary prime minister last year, a position he was forced out of due to mass protests. 

Shafik's headquarters were set on fire in an attack last week

Shafik will face off with Mursi in a run-off vote June 16 and 17.

Shafik is presenting himself as the candidate with the political experience necessary to handle the delicate transfer of power from Egypt's military rulers to civilian rule, a move promised by the generals later next month. 

Mursi is campaigning on a platform promising economic growth, security, and protection for moral values.