Egyptian runoff candidate's HQ torched in Cairo

Protesters set fire Monday to the headquarters of Egypt's presidential candidate and ex-premier Ahmad Shafiq after the election committee said he made it into a run off vote with an Islamist rival.

The assailants set fire to an annex of Shafiq's headquarters in Cairo hours after election officials announced that the holdover from Hosni Mubarak's ousted regime will face the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohammed Mursi in the second-round election.

A police official said eight suspects were arrested near the headquarters, a villa in the middle class Dokki neighbourhood.

Some of the protesters returned to the iconic Tahrir Square and threw campaign leaflets taken from Shafiq's headquarters on to the street. Many appeared to be supporters of an unsuccessful leftwing candidate and opposed both Shafiq and Mursi.

There were no immediate reports of injuries at the headquarters and firefighters said the blaze was quickly put under control.

"We were inside when they attacked us," one member of Shafiq's campaign staff said, without identifying himself. "They set fire to the garage that had general Shafiq's campaign literature."

Earlier around 1,000 protesters had gathered in Tahrir Square to protest Shafiq's presence on the runoff ballot.

"Shafiq will be president when I'm dead," read one poster on a car parked in the square, the hub of the nationwide uprising that ousted president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.

Announcing the results at an earlier press conference, election commission chief Faruq Sultan said no candidate had won a majority in the May 23-24 vote so the two with the highest votes, Mursi and Shafi, would enter a run off.

The result has exposed a deep rift within the nation, which now will have to choose between a conservative Islamist and a symbol of the hated Mubarak regime.

A senior military official told AFP that the army, which took charge after Mubarak's ouster, had plans to deal with any violence ahead of the decisive election. Police officials said their forces were on alert.

Sultan said Mursi had won with 24.77 percent of the votes, slightly ahead of Shafiq with 23.66 percent.

Leftist candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi came third with 20.71 percent, ahead of moderate Islamist Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh with 17.47 percent.

Former foreign minister Amr Mussa was fifth, trailing with 11.12 percent.

The commission put the official turnout in the vote -- the first since the 2011 uprising that ousted Mubarak -- at 46 percent of the 50 million Egyptians who were eligible to cast a ballot in the historic election.

Sultan said the commission had rejected seven appeals filed by candidates on May 26 and 27, citing electoral irregularities that "did not affect the outcome of the vote."

Both Mursi and Shafiq, who represent polar opposites in the country's fragmented politics after last year's uprising, are now trying to court the support of the losing candidates and their voters.

The Brotherhood, which alienated many other political parties after its domination of parliamentary elections last winter, has warned that the nation would be in danger if Shafiq wins and has pledged to become more inclusive.

Two of the losing candidates, Mussa and Abul Fotouh, declined to endorse either of the frontrunners, however.

The Brotherhood has gained the support of the ultra-conservative Salafist Al-Nur party, which had supported Abul Fotouh in the first round.

But a pending legal case could have serious implications for Shafiq's bid for the presidency.

Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court is expected to rule on June 11 in a key case examining the constitutionality of a law barring senior Mubarak-era officials from running for office, according to the state-owned Al-Akhbar.

On Saturday, Mursi called a meeting of candidates that was ignored by both Sabbahi and Abul Fotouh.

He promised at a news conference after the meeting that his party would be prepared to include aspects of other parties' programmes in its platform, but fell short of reassuring critics who say the group wants to monopolise power.

Shafiq also called on Saturday for broad support from former rivals, calling on his competitors by name to join him and promising there would be no return to the old regime.

Addressing the young people who spearheaded the 2011 revolt, he said: "Your revolution has been hijacked and I am committed to bringing (it) back."

The contest presents a difficult choice for activists who led the revolt. For them, choosing Shafiq would be to admit the revolution had failed, but a vote for Mursi could threaten the very freedoms they fought for.

The presidential poll has followed a tumultuous military-led transition from autocratic rule marked by political upheaval and bloodshed, but which also witnessed free parliamentary elections, which saw Egypt's two main Islamist parties clinch nearly three quarters of the 498 seats in the legislature.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, in power since Mubarak's downfall, has pledged to restore Egypt to civilian rule by the end of June.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • ‘Next leader must not be newbie’
    ‘Next leader must not be newbie’

    Vice President Jejomar Binay believes the next president of the Philippines must have vast experience and a long track record in governance and in dealing with crises. “I am very much convinced that the local government is the best training ground for those who want to run for national government positions,” he said. Binay said he is determined to run for president in 2016 on the strength of his competence and track record. …

  • Massacre suspect tests negative for poisoning
    Massacre suspect tests negative for poisoning

    A suspect in the Maguindanao massacre case who had been examined at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) tested negative for poisoning, medical records released yesterday showed. However, the Quezon City court handling the multiple murder case resolved to isolate Police Officer 1 Pia Kamidon from the rest of the accused detained at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig for his safety. In a two-page order, Regional Trial Court Branch 221 assisting Judge Genie Gapas-Agbada ordered jail officials to …

  • ‘Homework first before Facebook’
    ‘Homework first before Facebook’

    President Aquino elicited laughter from students here as he reminded them to open books first before Facebook. “Finish your assignments first before making a raid in the Clash of Clans,” Aquino said, referring to a popular online game. In a speech during the turnover yesterday of two new three-story buildings at the Tarlac National High School, he said the government could only provide opportunities for learning but the rest of the work would be up to the students. The new school buildings …

  • Espina resignation confirmed; Noy looks for replacement
    Espina resignation confirmed; Noy looks for replacement

    President Aquino ended speculations yesterday and confirmed that Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina had indeed resigned as officer-in-charge of the Philippine National Police. As of this time, we are conducting various interviews and checks on the various candidates,” Aquino told reporters at the Tarlac National High School in Tarlac City. Aquino had kind words for Espina, saying that he stood by and defended the 44 slain police Special Action Force (SAF) commandos in the operation in …

  • Palace welcomes G7 concern over sea reclamation
    Palace welcomes G7 concern over sea reclamation

    President Aquino welcomed yesterday the Group of Seven industrialized countries’ expression of concern over rising tension in the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea, calling it a clear indication of the global scope of the problem ramped up by China’s massive reclamation activities in disputed waters. In Tarlac City where he led the turnover of new classrooms, Aquino told reporters that goodwill and not tension must prevail in the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea, where territorial …

  • DepEd, TESDA tie up for K to 12
    DepEd, TESDA tie up for K to 12

    The Department of Education (DepEd) has partnered with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in the first two years of implementation of the K to 12 program. “We will use TESDA centers as technical-vocational laboratories for senior high school,” DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro said during the inauguration of 30 new classrooms at the Tarlac National High School yesterday. The classrooms were constructed in partnership with the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. …

  • SE Asia Stocks-Philippine falls on foreign selling; others flat to weaker

    BANGKOK, April 17 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets ended flat to weaker on Friday as Philippine stocks slid on selling led by foreign funds and Singapore shares extended losses with investors ... …

  • Philippine Airlines parent says back in black
    Philippine Airlines parent says back in black

    Philippine Airlines' parent firm said it had returned to profitability, the first time in three years either entity reported being in the black for an entire year. In a filing with the Philippine Stock Exchange Thursday, PAL Holdings reported an after-tax net profit of 129.74 million pesos ($2.93 million) in its fiscal year to December 31. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options