CAIRO, June 26 (UPI) -- Ahmed Shafiq, President Hosni Mubarak's last prime minister and the loser in the presidential runoff, left the country Tuesday. his lawyer said.
Shafiq released a statement congratulating the victor, Mohamed Morsi, and urging him to govern as president of all Egyptians, Egypt Independent reported. Attorney Showee Elsayed told CNN Shafiq, who flew to Abu Dhabi, was not fleeing to avoid prosecution.
On Monday, an adviser said Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate who won a narrow victory, plans to name a woman and a Christian as vice-presidents.
In an interview with CNN, Ahmed Deif, Morsi's policy adviser, promised Egypt will not become an "Islamic Republic" like Iran. He said Morsi's plans for his vice presidents are proof of that.
"For the first time in Egyptian history -- not just modern but in all Egyptian history -- a woman will take that position," Deif said. "And it's not just a vice president who will represent a certain agenda and sect, but a vice president who is powerful and empowered, and will be taking care of critical advising within the presidential Cabinet."
Shafiq plans to start a new political party when he returns, his lawyer said.
"We trust that nobody will be marginalized and that there will be no settlement of scores. I respect the opinion of the majority and appreciate everyone who supported me. I thank them one by one," Shafiq said in a statement.
Elsayed told CNN Shafiq was on a private trip that will include a religious pilgrimage to Mecca with his daughters.
Shafiq had been barred from leaving the country to face charges of corruption during his tenure as civil aviation minister. He is accused of wasting billions of public dollars as well as embezzling $800 million, bikyamasr.com said.
Earlier a spokesman for Morsi accused Iran's semi-official Fars news agency of fabricating an interview.
The spokesman told the official Middle East News Agency Monday claims by Fars that it had interviewed Morsi hours before he was officially elected were false.
"Morsi did not give any interview to Fars and everything this agency has published is baseless," the spokesman told the agency.
The Iranian news agency claimed Morsi was considering expanding ties with Tehran and planned to review the 1979 peace treaty with Israel.
The Abu Dhabi daily The National said Tuesday Morsi faces daunting challenges, from the economy to writing a new constitution. After he was elected president, Morsi officially resigned from the Muslim Brotherhood, the newspaper said.
One of the main tasks ahead for the president is dealing with the Supreme Council of Armed Forces, which dissolved Parliament and stripped powers from the presidency, including taking control of the committee that will rewrite the constitution, the daily said. Egypt's highest court overturned a decree Tuesday allowing the military to make civilian arrests and plans to rule soon on other important issues.
"The deck is stacked against him, but I certainly don't think it will stay that way," Eric Trager, a fellow with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy in Cairo, told the newspaper. "Even if he doesn't have formal power for a while -- and I don't think that will last long -- he'll still be able to use the bully pulpit in a very influential way."