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More than 3,000 people of various political backgrounds attended a rally Sunday supporting presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq in Kordy, a village in the Nile Delta governorate of Daqahlia.
The event highlighted the broad range of support Shafiq receives in various parts of the country outside of the capital, despite being given the toxic label of “feloul” — or regime remnant — by many activists and supporters of the revolution. Shafiq served as civil aviation minister under former President Hosni Mubarak and as the deposed president’s last prime minister.
Large numbers of former members of Mubarak’s ruling National Democratic Party attended the Shafiq rally, including former MP Mosaad Lotfy al-Morsy and former local council president Ibrahim al-Hadidy. Also in attendance, however, were current MPs from both the Wafd Party and Nour Party, despite the fact that their parties have endorsed Amr Moussa and Abdel Moneim Abouel Fotouh, respectively.
Former NDP MP and village resident Mahmoud Nabeih, who has been accused of hiring thugs for political purposes, organized the rally. Nabeih welcomed Shafiq to “his home” and told a story about the candidate shooting down two Israeli airplanes above Kordy during the 1973 Arab-Israeli War.
The event didn’t come without the usual controversy that surrounds Shafiq’s candidacy. An earlier rally scheduled in Kordy had been canceled after local activists opposed to Shafiq’s presidency threatened to attack the candidate if he made an appearance, though Shafiq publicly blamed the cancellation on the violence in Abbasseya that broke out late last month.
At Sunday’s rally, activists chose to express their opposition peacefully, demonstrating with banners and signs portraying Shafiq's work with the previous regime.
Unlike most candidates, Shafiq began his speech by praising the army and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces for supporting the 25 January revolution, and warned people about the “young, paid individuals who want to bring down the country.”
Shafiq promised the return of police and security on the very first day of his presidential term. He also promised to assign a woman as vice president because “women are half the society.”
Shafiq noted that his main aim is to “restore the greatness of old Egypt.”
Like most other candidates speaking in the Delta, Shafiq also promised to drop farmers’ debts “no matter what the circumstances are.”
Ahmed Sabry, a local resident, said he came to support Shafiq because Egypt needs a man with a military background, particularly given the chaotic security situation the country currently faces. Sabry also mentioned that he is “depressed because [his] favorite candidate, Omar Suleiman, was disqualified.”
Another resident, Zohra Awad, said that after she voted for the Muslim Brotherhood in the parliamentary elections last fall, the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party — which dominates Parliament — never “achieved the rights of the martyrs” of the revolution.
Because of this, Awad now said she plans to vote for “the man whom deserves it: Shafiq.”