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Ex-Al Jazeera DG claims Egypt has become a "tool for dictators"

June 10, 2012 - Cairo

A former director general of the Al-Jazeera television network, Wadah Khanfar has revealed that the Egyptian state has become a "tool for dictators", and if the Brotherhood candidate loses, it would be a "great setback" for the revolution.

Khanfar, who was a leading commentator and backed the uprising in Egypt and now runs the Sharq Forum think tank, said the country now faces a battle for its revolution as the presidential elections reach their climax this week.

According to The Telegraph, Egyptian voters face a choice between the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, Mohamed Morsi, and a former prime minister, Ahmed Shafik.

Khanfar , who was speaking at The Telegraph Hay Festival, said that if they chose the former regime candidate, the country faces abandoning the revolution, which was pivotal to the Arab Spring.

He also denied that Al-Jazeera had driven the Islamist dominance of the post-revolution elections by adopting an overtly religious agenda in the years before the uprising.

"The heroes of the changes are the people themselves," he said.

Khanfar cited the second round of presidential elections, was going to be between "those who push for change and the state trying to defend itself."Next week we are going to see who wins the confrontation," he added.

He also warned there were many challenges ahead on the road to democracy in the Middle East, including whether free elections can be held in Yemen and Jordan and whether the West will have the courage to arm Syrians involved in the uprising.


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