The Muslim Brotherhood's presidential candidate Mohamed Mursi denounced the former Mubarak regime as "mites gnawing on the bone" of Egypt at a public rally attended by thousands of his supporters in Assiut in the south of the country on Sunday evening.
Mursi focused much of his speech on the problems affecting the Upper Egypt region, including Assiut. He acknowledged that farmers are struggling with many problems including irrigation, access to fertilisers and marketing of their crops, adding that the agricultural sector is in urgent need of reform.
The Islamist contender said that one of the main problems Egypt faces is the security vacuum that has plagued the country since the January 25 Revolution, when the police force infamously vacated the streets. However, he added that he has a concrete plan to solve this crisis, including holding joint patrols of the police, army and civilian-run popular committees until the security issue is resolved.
Mursi is one of the top leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood: he was a member of their Guidance Bureau as well as being their official spokesperson. Mursi stepped down from his position in 2011 to become the president of the Brotherhood's first political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party.
The Brotherhood had originally wanted to field the charismatic Khairat El-Shater for the presidency but when he was banned from running due to a previous criminal conviction the group presented Mursi as a substitute.
Mursi has been slowly moving up in the polls in recent days according to various surveys of voters.
Egypt's presidential elections will take place on 23 and 24 May, with a runoff vote on 16 and 17 June if no single candidate wins an outright majority. Egypt’s next president will be formally named on 21 June.