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Mubarak-Era Premier Vaults to Second Place in Presidential Poll

Egypt's Former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik
Ahmed Shafik, who served as premier in the waning days of Mubarak’s administration. Photographer: Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister pushed Islamist presidential hopeful Abdel Moneim Aboul-Fotouh from second place in a voter poll, with just over a week until the election is set to begin.

Ahmed Shafik, who served as premier in the waning days of Mubarak’s administration, moved into second place, with 19.9 percent of the 1,200 people surveyed saying they supported him, according to the weekly poll by the Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies. Amre Moussa, the former Arab League chief and foreign minister under Mubarak, retained his lead in the race slated to begin May 23, with the backing of 40.8 percent of those surveyed, the state-run Al-Ahram daily reported.

Shafik’s rise pushed Aboul-Fotouh into third place with 17.8 percent, while Mohamed Mursi, the head of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm, won the backing of 9.4 percent of those surveyed. That marked a more than 2 percentage point gain for Mursi from the previous week.

The poll was held May 5-8, before Aboul-Fotouh and Moussa faced off in the Arab world’s first presidential debate. The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.

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