Egypt's foreign minister says no restrictions on presidential hopeful

Egypt's foreign minister says no restrictions on presidential hopeful

UAE's official news agency WAM quoted an unnamed official as saying that Shafiq left for Cairo and that his family was still in the UAE.

In the afternoon, Dina Adly, the lawyer of the former Egyptian prime minister, said in a post on her Facebook page that Shafiq was deported today from the UAE to Egypt.

On Wednesday, Shafiq declared from his residence in the UAE his intention to run in the upcoming presidential elections in Egypt, which is expected to be held in the spring of 2018.

It's not clear where Shafiq would be taken afterward.

Shafiq, a former government minister and air force commander, announced last week he plans to run for president in 2018.

A relative told AFP his family in Egypt have been informed the plane may land in Cairo airport at 1730 GMT. She said all lines of communication with him have been cut. "They said he would go back to Cairo, because they can deport him only to his home country".

Just hours after his announcement, however, Shafiq said the UAE had barred him from leaving the country. Shafik is seen as the strongest potential opponent of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi if he decides to run for a second term in April's election. The comment sparked outrage from the pro-government media and some officials.

Earlier last month, uman rights lawyer and former 2012 presidential candidate Khaled Ali declared his own intention to become a candidate for president.

Mr Morsi himself was ousted by the military in July 2013 following mass anti-government protests, with Mr Sisi elected president a year later.

The authorities under Sisi had launched a bloody crackdown on Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood group that extended to secular and non-Islamist dissidents as well.

Yet he remains popular with many Egyptians who, wearied by years of tumult that decimated tourism and foreign investment, say the country needs a firm leader.

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