Telecommunications mogul Naguib Sawiris says presidential candidate Mohamed Morsy has failed to assuage fears that he will impose a conservative Islamist state if elected.
Morsy "was not successful in reassuring people with regard to [his] concept of the civil state," Sawiris said, defining a civil state as not based on religion but governed by a constitution in which all citizens have equal rights and responsibilities.
"The next president should be a true believer in the civil state, not a president who copes with the events until the electoral process ends, then we find ourselves in [a guardianship] state as with the oppressive Iranian regime," Sawiris told Al-Arabiya news channel.
Sawiris said the results of the first round of the presidential election, from which Morsy and former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq proceed to a runoff, have left voters with a difficult decision.
Sawiris had previously endorsed former Arab League head Amr Moussa, who was knocked out in the first round last month.
"It is unreasonable that the military council hand over power to a president whose powers are unidentified and without a clear constitution for the country, because it is a historic responsibility on the council," he said, regarding the delay in drafting a new constitution.
"The process of procrastination in the constitution is not acceptable simply because it has one meaning — that we are waiting for the next president, because if Morsy wins, the Egyptian constitution would be the Quran, and if Shafiq wins, we would draft a new constitution," Sawiris said.
As a member of the Advisory Council to the military rulers, Sawiris said he "called for activating the 1971 Constitution until a new constitution is drafted."
He also decried protests against the outcome of former President Hosni Mubarak's trial, saying he considers them "a demolition of the judiciary," and that verdicts can be appealed in the Court of Cassation, not in the street.
Sawiris founded the liberal Free Egyptians Party last year and repeatedly told the press that liberal political forces would not allow the Islamist domination of the body responsible for drafting the constitution. He also accused Islamist movements of hijacking the revolution.