CAIRO (Reuters) - Ahmed Shafiq, who will fight an Islamist candidate in a runoff for Egypt’s presidency next month, vowed on Saturday to restore security after the revolution that unseated Hosni Mubarak.
Shafiq, 70, an ex-air force commander like Mubarak, is widely viewed as a symbol of the old order, but sought to combat that image after coming second to the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Mursi in this week’s first round.
“Your revolution was stolen,” he told a news conference, addressing youth groups that spearheaded last year’s popular uprising. “I pledge to return its fruits to your hands.”
Shafiq, who was Mubarak’s last prime minister, said that “the clock cannot be turned back”, but that he would not let the country “drown in chaos”.
Much of his rhetoric indirectly targeted the Brotherhood, playing on fears among Egypt’s minority Christians and secular liberals that a Mursi presidency would threaten their freedoms.
“No exclusion of anyone or distancing of anyone,” he declared. “Everyone has a right to be a part of this nation.”
Shafiq, like Mursi, will have to win broader support to clinch the run-off on June 16 and 17. State television said preliminary indications showed Mursi had won 26.4 percent of the vote in the first round, against 23 percent for Shafiq, followed closely by a secular leftist and a moderate Islamist.
Reporting by Shaimaa Fayed; Writing by Alistair Lyon; Editing by Kevin Liffey