Egyptian former presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq said on Sunday in a televised interview that he will run for presidency if he is backed by popular support.
In an interview with private Egyptian TV channel Dream, Shafiq also said that he will not run if Egypt's armed forces chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi enters the presidential race, adding that he will be the first to back him.
“May God give him good fortune. We would all support him and I am the first one to support him,” he said.
Sisi has said he does not seek authority though speculation he will run has mounted since he toppled the Muslim Brotherhood's Mursi from the presidency on July 3. Sisi is widely expected to win if he runs, according to Reuters news agency.
The former candidate, who was appointed by ousted President Hosni Mubarak as prime minister in the wake of the Jan. 25, 2011 revolution, said that supporters of former President Mohammad Mursi’s were armed in Cairo protest sit-ins last month and had to be dispersed.
“We gave them their chance, but blood was spilled and the state won’t be destroyed,” he was quoted as saying.
Shafiq lost the presidential race to the Islamist former president in a bitterly contested election last year, he is now based in the United Arab Emirates and has been a firm critic of the Muslim Brotherhood.
In March, Shafiq told Al Arabiya in an exclusive interview that it was “game over” for Islamist rule in Egypt.
“Religious rule is no longer viable in Egypt,” he said. “It’s not even religious rule. What’s happening has no ties with religion. This is a mask.”