Egypt vote narrows to Islamist, Mubarak holdover (AFP) AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE) By Samer al-Atrush 05/25/12)
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The Muslim Brotherhood on Friday urged Egyptians to rally behind
their presidential candidate in an almost certain run-off with rival
Ahmed Shafiq, warning the country would be in danger if fallen
dictator Hosni Mubarak´s premier won.
The Brotherhood declared its candidate Mohammed Mursi the front
runner in the May 23-24 election after all the votes had been
counted, with Shafiq in second place.
A run-off between Shafiq and Mursi will further polarise a nation
that rose up against the authoritarian Mubarak 15 months ago but has
since suffered a spike in violence and a declining economy.
The electoral commission is expected to declare the official results
on Tuesday, but tallies of the vote counting provided by the official
MENA news agency and Al-Ahram newspaper showed Mursi in first place
and Shafiq in second.
"We have complete numbers now. Complete, after adding expatriate
votes," said Essam al-Erian, the deputy head of the Brotherhood´s
Erian told a press conference it was "completely clear" that Mursi
and Shafiq had topped the presidential vote and would compete in the
run-off on June 16-17.
He said Mursi won 25.3 percent of the vote, and Shafiq 24 percent.
Pan-Arab socialist Hamdeen Sabahi won 22 percent, Erian said.
Both Mursi and Shafiq had been written off as long shots just weeks
before the historic election in which the country freely voted for
the first time to elect a president after Mubarak´s ouster in a
Shafiq´s success appears to have shaken the influential Islamist
movement, which won parliamentary and senate elections held last
"The slogan now is: ´the nation is in danger,´" Erian said. He said
Mursi himself was calling losing candidates for a meeting on Saturday
to ensure Shafiq would not win the election.
"The revolution is in danger, we need to have a democratic country,
Shafiq is against democracy," he told AFP after the press conference.
Another Brotherhood official told AFP that Mursi would personally
call the movement´s bitter rival Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh, a former
Brotherhood leader who ran independently of the movement.
"We call on all sincere political and national forces to unite to
protect the revolution and to achieve the pledges we took before our
great nation," a Brotherhood statement said.
"Today we face desperate attempts to reproduce the old regime," it
Fotouh´s campaign earlier issued a statement calling on Egyptians to
confront "the corrupt regime" in the run-offs, in a veiled reference
A spokesman from Shafiq´s campaign, Karim Salem, denied that his
candidate would represent a retreat from the goals of the uprising.
"No, (the Mubarak) era is finished, politics have changed. Egypt is
entering democracy," Salem said.
In Cairo, voters were thrilled by the free, contested election, whose
results were not predetermined, but conceded that many challenges lay
"It´s our first year of democracy, like a baby that is still learning
to crawl," said Mustafa Abdo, a bank employee.
The election, which saw 50 million eligible voters given the chance
to choose among 12 candidates, was hailed by US Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton, who congratulated Egypt on its "historic"
presidential election, and said Washington was ready to work with a
new government in Cairo.
Electoral commission officials said turnout was around 50 percent
over the two days of voting.
Contenders included former foreign minister and Arab League chief Amr
Mussa, who touted his experience but was hammered for his ties to the
The election seals a tumultuous military-led transition from
autocratic rule marked by political upheaval and bloodshed, but which
also witnessed parliamentary elections that saw Islamist groups score
a crushing victory.
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, in power since Mubarak´s
ouster, has vowed to restore civilian rule by the end of June, after
a president is elected, but many fear its withdrawal from politics
will be just an illusion.
The army, with its vast and opaque economic power, wants to keep its
budget a secret by remaining exempt from parliamentary scrutiny,
maintain control of military-related legislation and secure immunity
Mubarak, 84 and ailing, is being held in a military hospital on the
outskirts of Cairo where he awaits the verdict of his murder trial on
June 2 over the deaths of protesters during the uprising. (Copyright
© 2012 Agence France Presse. 05/25/12)
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