Former Egyptian prime minister Ahmed Shafik, who returned home from the United Arab Emirates after announcing his bid for Egypt’s presidency, appeared in Cairo on Sunday to say he was still considering his run in next year’s election.
Shafik’s comments on a private Cairo television station came a day after his family said he had been taken from their home in the Emirates and deported back to Egypt, where they said they had lost contact with him until late on Sunday.
Shafik, a former air force chief and government minister, has been seen by critics of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as the strongest potential challenger to the president, who is expected to run for a second term next year.
Details about what happened to Shafik between his leaving the UAE on Saturday and his declaration on Sunday were unclear. He made a surprise announcement from the UAE last week that he planned to run in the 2018 election.
“Today, I am here in the country, so I think I am free to deliberate further on the issue, to explore and go down and talk to people in the street,” he said on Sunday.
“There’s a chance now to investigate more and see exactly what is needed … to feel out if this is the logical choice.”
The interview on Dream TV was Shafik’s first public appearance since leaving the UAE on Saturday. His family said earlier that they feared he had been “kidnapped”. Sources said he had been picked up by Egyptian authorities at Cairo airport.
Shafik dismissed reports he had been kidnapped.