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A ballot shows Egyptian presidential candidates Ahmed Shafiq and Mohamed Morsi

PolicyWatch 1953

In Their Own Words: Egyptian Presidential Candidates Morsi and Shafiq

Also available in العربية

June 15, 2012

The second round of Egypt's presidential election, slated to take place this weekend, pits Muslim Brotherhood candidate Muhammad Morsi against Ahmed Shafiq, the former air force commander who served as Hosni Mubarak's last prime minister. Although it is impossible to predict how either candidate will govern if elected, their statements on regional peace, minorities, political transition, and global economic engagement contrast sharply. The quotes below are not isolated announcements, but are representative of the candidates' broader statements on these subjects.



"I will respect [the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty], but on the basis of mutual respect between the two parties and a lack of violations of the agreement day after day, as Israel does through threatening the borders and killing soldiers and constant threats of war...It is not possible for a population of 5 million people to threaten a population of 95 million." (Al-Youm al-Saba, May 10, 2012)

"At the time, I did not agree with the peace treaty. It was November '79, I was studying engineering in Cairo...I did not agree with this treaty or the way it was concluded...I'm not talking about peace now. I agree that there should be peace between all the peoples of the world, but I did not agree with the treaty. But now I'm an official, I'm the party president, and I will become president of the republic, God willing, so I'm a representative of a great country and large institutions." ("Egypt Elects the President," CBC Television, May 9, 2012)

"We respect these agreements, these covenants. And we do not move to criticize the covenants. It is also incumbent on the other side to respect this agreement. The peace treaty between us and the Israelis is broken by the Israelis all the time, and the Israelis need to realize that peace is not just words, that peace is action on the ground and in reality." ("Egypt Elects the President," CBC Television, May 9, 2012)


"I object to Israel's current actions. But I am a man who honors past agreements." (Reuters, April 26, 2012)

"A visit [to Israel] is very possible, if it is preceded by appropriate conduct on the part of the Israeli government." (Egypt Elects the President, CBC, May 10, 2012)



"Women have a right to freely choose the attire that suits them." (Associated Press, May 29, 2012)

"[We will] review the personal status laws and purge them of material destructive to the family, and work so the personal status laws may be in agreement with Islamic sharia, while reserving for the Copts their right to privacy of personal status." (From the Brotherhood's "Renaissance Plan")

"There will be no rebirth for Egypt except through Islamic sharia." (Egypt TV 25, May 13, 2012)

"Whoever fears the sharia and its implementation doesn't know that it's just and equalizing and great, and it is God's right on earth. And who among us doesn't want God's right and his justice and his greatness for the umma?" (Al-Shorouk, June 12, 2012)


"The president will be a team and not an individual, and the president will have deputies from various Egyptian [communities], and I will attempt to appoint a Christian deputy and a woman deputy." (Official campaign statement, May 20, 2012)

"It is a Christian's right to gain his opportunity in society based upon his efficiency and not be subjected to persecution and ineligibility based on his religion. This must apply to all Egyptians." (Official campaign statement, May 19, 2012)



"I am keen on dialogue and on unifying the ranks to face the attempt to bring back the old oppressive state." (Egypt Independent, June 1, 2012)

"The state should not destroy the institutions of civil society, but we will launch complete freedom for civil society to protect the rights of all people without discrimination. We must achieve full financial independence for organizations and perhaps issue legislation defining the mechanisms by which these organizations can obtain their revenue." (Official campaign statement, Akhbar Masr, June 4, 2012)


"Civilians may be in a hurry, and they think that as soon as the new president is elected he will act freely of the military. No, this will not be the case." (Reuters, April 26, 2012)

"No one will be detained for their opinion...Security services will be committed to the law and to human rights standards...I represent a secular state...the Brotherhood represents a sectarian state." (Al-Arabiya, June 3, 2012)

"No youth will be jailed for his political activities or expressing his views in the new republic...I follow what you write on the internet, Facebook, and Twitter. I promise to guarantee the freedom of the internet." (Egypt Independent, June 9, 2012)



"[We will] establish a domestic organization for zakat...and a group of coffers for the investment in funding [Islamic] endowments." (From the Brotherhood's "Renaissance Plan")

"Beginning a new regional role for Egypt in the formulation of its relationship with the United States of America on the basis of...seeking to replace all forms of military, economic, and political subordination in the long term in patterns of a new relationship based on balance and parity and common gains." (Renaissance Plan)


"I ask your confidence that I will establish three special economic zones in the area of the Suez Canal, the area of Lake Nasser and the High Dam, and the area of the road of the Upper Red Sea...All this is in order to cope with the lack of local and foreign investment, in order to address the problem of unemployment." (Official campaign statement, May 20, 2012)

"[I will] establish a special economic zone along the Suez Canal and the Sinai to be a global center for trade, industry, and services. It will include in its scope the five provinces along both sides of the channel, and to achieve the goals of developing the shipping industry, transport services, and the associated manufacturing and transit trade." (Official electoral program)

"Increase the number of scholarships for [study] abroad to ten thousand scholarships per year, taking advantage of all funding opportunities available globally, and the donations and grants that can be provided by the Egyptian private sector, and from resources in the public the direction of the first-class universities in Asia, Europe, and the United States." (Official electoral program)

This summary was prepared by Katie Kiraly.