CAIRO - Former Egyptian general Ahmed Shafik said on Friday he was confident of victory in last weekend's presidential election, stepping up a war of words with his Islamist opponent as Egypt waits anxiously for the delayed result.

Mohamed Morsy, candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood, declared victory early on Monday, within hours of polls closing.

Shafik aides disputed that during the week, though the candidate himself kept a low profile. One spokesman for him said on Wednesday that exit polling showed the run-off vote was "too close to call". But Shafik's public statement, broadcast live, was a further step in efforts to challenge the Islamists.

"I am fully confident I will be the legitimate winner," he told cheering supporters at a Cairo hotel. He criticized Morsy for trying to put pressure on the electoral commission by declaring victory and calling for street protests.

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