Islamists, ex-PM reach out to rivals after Egypt vote

The apparent winners of the first round of Egypt's landmark presidential vote reached out to rival candidates on Saturday ahead of a June run-off, as international monitors called the initial voting process "encouraging."

Final votes were still being counted, but unofficial results suggested that the top two out of 12 candidates were the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohammed Mursi and Ahmed Shafiq, a former premier under ousted Hosni Mubarak.

The Brotherhood called a meeting of various candidates on Saturday afternoon, but the campaigns of Abul Fotouh, former foreign minister Amr Mussa and Nasserist candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi said the three would not attend.

At a news conference later on Saturday, Mursi appealed to Egyptians to pursue the goals of the revolution, a day after his movement said the nation was "in danger."

He said he was confident the results of the June 16 and 17 run-off "will serve the revolution and the interests of the Egyptian people."

He also sought to reassure those who fear a Mursi win would serve the interests of the Muslim Brotherhood ahead of the country.

"As a president, I will be the president for all Egyptians. (My relationship) with the Brotherhood will be the same as all Egyptians," he said.

On Friday night, the Brotherhood said it was seeking to create a coalition of forces to challenge Shafiq.

"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," it said.

"The slogan now is: 'The nation is in danger'," Essam al-Erian, deputy head of the Brotherhood's political arm, told AFP.

Shafiq also called 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.

"I reach out to all the partners and I pledge that we would all work together for the good of Egypt," he told a news conference.

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

"I pledge now, to all Egyptians, we shall start a new era. There is no going back."

As the top two candidates worked to rally support for the run-off, leftist candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi, who came third, said he was to file a complaint over alleged voting irregularities in the first round.

"We will file appeals and we will then determine whether or not we accept the results," Sabbahi said.

"It is our right to get a response to our appeals. We will be in the second round, God willing."

A Shafiq-Mursi run-off looks likely to further polarise a nation that rose up against the authoritarian Mubarak 15 months ago but has since suffered endemic violence and a declining economy.

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

Independent analyst Hisham Kassem said the situation "is one of the most difficult political situations that Egypt has ever known."

"We face the risk of maintaining the Mubarak regime, or Islamising the country," he told AFP.

Former US president Jimmy Carter, whose Carter Centre monitored the elections, told journalists that the process had been "encouraging" but noted that he and his monitors had faced unprecedented constraints.

"I would say that these (elections) have been encouraging to me," he said, adding that authorities had imposed "constraints placed on us as witnesses that have never been placed on us before."

He said minor "haphazard" violations had been observed, but there did not appear to be systematic irregularities that favoured any one candidate.

Erian said on Friday it was "completely clear" that Mursi and Shafiq had topped the vote and would compete in the June 16-17 run-off.

He said Mursi had won 25.3 percent of the vote and Shafiq 24 percent, with Sabbahi at 22 percent.

Both Mursi and Shafiq had been written off as long shots just weeks before the historic election in which Egypt voted for the first time to elect a president after Mubarak's ouster in a democratic uprising.

The election, with 50 million eligible voters, was hailed by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who congratulated Egypt on its "historic" 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.

The election follows a tumultuous military-led transition from autocratic rule marked by political upheaval and bloodshed, but which also witnessed free parliamentary elections.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, in power since Mubarak's downfall, has pledged to restore 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.

  • Nonviolent disciplining of kids pushed

    Child rights advocates called on senators to pass and strongly endorse a law that will institutionalize positive and nonviolent methods of disciplining children.The Child Rights Network (CRN), Plan International Philippines (PIP), Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development (PLPCD), and Lihok Pilipinas Foundation led the call for the enactment of the Positive Discipline Bill.Several Quezon City Council members led by Majority Floor Leader Jesus Manuel Suntay, Victor Ferrer …

  • Method to their madness

    [caption id="attachment_256768" align="alignright" width="212"] Illustration by Rod Cañalita[/caption] EMMANUEL PORTUGAL Country Manager for the Philippines, VMware I look after the garden. I’d like to think that I have a green thumb—no plants have died so far! The ones I like now that I planted a few months ago is the Blue Iris. Like the town in the movie, my Blue Iris shows up in the morning and only appears for one day. …

  • JGFP Summer Tour on today

    The summer tour for local junior golfers kicks off with the holding of the ICTSI-JGFP Baguio Junior Open today and tomorrow at the treacherous Baguio Country Club course in Baguio.Sixty players aged 6 to 17 years old are entered in the 36-hole tourney serving as the opening leg of the summer circuit organized by the Junior Golf Foundation of the Philippines with the International Container Terminal Services, Inc. Foundation as main sponsor. ... …

  • PH now market ready to absorb infra bonds

    The Philippine market is now ready to absorb infrastructure bonds that will be issued by private companies amid a growing pipeline of infra-related projects under the government’s Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program. President Benigno Aquino III last week said the government is still committed to spend more on the country’s infrastructure, with 16 PPP projects currently on the pipeline and nine that have already been awarded. Over the years, some of the country’s biggest infrastructure …

  • Filipinos are saving more – BSP survey

    More Filipinos have the extra cash to save for that proverbial rainy day, according to the Bangko Sentral ng Philippines (BSP). Based on a quarterly survey on consumer confidence, domestic households with savings have the means to increase family reserves and to bring up the amount to historical highs. The central bank said improved family income, a generally positive outlook on the economy, inflation and foreign exchange rates encouraged saving behavior during the first three months of 2015. …

  • AXA Philippines growing alongside its parent firm

    Philippine AXA Life Insurance Corp. is growing side by side with its parent firm, global insurance firm AXA, after posting significant growth in its total premium income amid an increasing market share in the country. A statement showed that in the Philippines, multi-billion firm AXA Group saw P18.35 billion in total premium income. The local entity of AXA, AXA Philippines is a joint venture between AXA Group and the Metrobank Group. In 2014, it saw an increase in market share to 11.6 …

  • End to traffic jam in sight? Japan to lend P4B to PHL for road projects

    The Japanese government will be providing some P4 billion to the Philippines for road projects aimed at decongesting monstrous jams in Metro Manila.Noriaki Niwa, chief representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), said the loan will cover major interchanges to address traffic congestion in Metro Manila, including flyovers, and road links.Among them are the interchanges on EDSA-Roosevelt/Congressional, EDSA-West/North, and C-5-Green Meadows and North/Mindanao Avenue. ... …

  • US won’t provide flexibility for countries interested in TPP

    Washington D.C.—The US government will not provide any flexibility for potential member countries, like the Philippines, in their bid to become part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a senior official said. Economic and Business Affairs Deputy Assistant Secretary William E. Craft, Jr., said all restrictions stated under the TPP trade deal will be maintained and have to be met by the current and future member countries. Earlier, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said that the …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options