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New Shafiq-sponsored coalition

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The National Groups Coalition demands early presidential elections as an exit to the current crisis

Shafiq has been living abroad in the United Arab Emirates since narrowly losing the first post-Mubarak elections. (AFP PHOTO / Marwan Naamani)

Shafiq has been living abroad in the United Arab Emirates since narrowly losing the first post-Mubarak elections. (AFP PHOTO / Marwan Naamani)

The National Groups Coalition demands early presidential elections as an exit to the current crisis

A new opposition group was announced on Wednesday, led by former presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq’s Egyptian National Movement Party.

The National Groups Coalition announced in its first press conference a number of recommendations which could lead the country through the current crisis.

In a statement released during the press conference, the coalition announced that the only exit to the crisis lies in holding early presidential elections, calling upon all democratic political movements to support that demand. The coalition added in its statement that the rift between President Mohamed Morsi and the people is widening by the hour; a matter which is costing him his “social legitimacy” after he had lost his “legal legitimacy”.

“We have documented grave violations during the 2012 presidential elections,” said Shady Tala’at during the press conference. Tala’at is a member of the Lawyers Union for Democratic and Legal Studies; a non-governmental organisation. “If those violations were investigated, the elections would have most definitely been repeated.”

Shafiq spoke during the press conference from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) through a conference call.  He stated that upon losing the presidential elections, he had hoped to “serve the country” from the seat of the opposition, adding that such was the reason why he didn’t contend the results of the elections. “Yet, some childish acts prevented me from holding that post,” Shafiq said.

Shafiq fled to the UAE right after Morsi was announced president. He hasn’t returned since.

“I shall return at the right time,” Shafiq said, when asked during the press conference about when he intends on coming back. “And I assure you, the lawsuits filed against me aren’t keeping me from returning.”

Shafiq denied accusations that he was feloul, a remnant of the former regime. “I was not a member of the now dissolved National Democratic Party,” he said. “Whereas the Muslim Brotherhood constantly brokered deals with the party for the parliamentary elections. They occupied 88 seats in the 2005 People’s Assembly.”

Among those who attended the press conference was Nabil Na’eem, founder of the Islamist Jihadi Party. Na’eem accused the Muslim Brotherhood of supporting the “Brotherhood-project” at the expense of the “Islamist-project”, adding that their project is as far away from Islam as is possible.

“The Brotherhood uses Islam as a tool of repression,” Na’eem said. “We shall not tolerate a dictator who rules us under the name of religion.”

Recommendations offered by the coalition included having the prosecutor general investigate all reports filed against the president, refusing the intervention of the armed forces in the political struggle, calling on all political movements to announce a clear stance toward the upcoming parliamentary elections (either participate or completely boycott the elections), and demanding that the president lifts the “siege” on the Canal cities of Ismailia, Suez and Port Said.

The coalition stated they shall be holding other press conferences soon to keep up with the political scene.


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