Egypt vote narrows to Islamist, Mubarak holdover

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 political arm.

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 democratic uprising.

Shafiq's success appears to have shaken the influential Islamist movement, which won parliamentary and senate elections held last winter.

"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 said.

Fotouh's campaign earlier issued a statement calling on Egyptians to confront "the corrupt regime" in the run-offs, in a veiled reference to Shafiq.

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 ahead.

"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 old regime.

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 from prosecution.

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.

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.

  • Philippine, Vietnamese troops play soccer and sing on disputed island

    By Manuel Mogato MANILA (Reuters) - Vietnamese and Philippine troops played soccer and sang karaoke on a South China Sea island on Wednesday in a sign of the growing security ties between the two Southeast Asian nations most at odds with Beijing over the contested waterway. Cooperation has blossomed between Hanoi and Manila since they shelved decades of enmity over their competing claims in the Spratly archipelago to try to counter China, whose creation of artificial islands in the region …

  • SE Asia Stocks - Fall on renewed U.S. rate hike concerns

    BANGKOK, May 27 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets tumbled on Wednesday as investors resumed selling on expectations of an interest rate hike in the U.S. sooner rather than later, derailing Philippine ... …

  • Phl, US defense chiefs to meet on sea dispute
    Phl, US defense chiefs to meet on sea dispute

    As US aircraft carrier USS Ronald Regan began its journey to Asian waters amid China’s power flexing in the region, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin would try to hear directly from his US counterpart how far America is willing to go to aid its long-time ally against China’s threatening moves in disputed waters. Gazmin flew to Hawaii last Monday to attend ceremonies for the turnover of leadership of the United States Pacific Command (USPACOM) from Admiral Samuel Locklear to Admiral Harry …

  • Water in Angat Dam falls below critical level
    Water in Angat Dam falls below critical level

    The water level of Angat Dam in Bulacan yesterday fell below the 180-meter critical level for irrigation, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said. PAGASA said the dam’s water level further dropped to 179.98 meters as of 6 a.m. yesterday from 180.2 meters on Monday. The priority is the domestic consumption in Metro Manila, according to PAGASA. …

  • PCSO gets P3-B fund for medical aid
    PCSO gets P3-B fund for medical aid

    The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) reported yesterday that an estimated P3-billion charity fund has been allocated by Congress to the agency to provide medical assistance to indigent patients and also give funds to other government offices including the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Crop Insurance Program. …

  • Image of Asia: Tearing down squatters' homes near Manila
    Image of Asia: Tearing down squatters' homes near Manila

    In this photo by Bullit Marquez, a demolition crew begins to tear down a squatters' community at suburban Caloocan city, north of Manila, Philippines. Population growth and the lack of economic opportunities in rural areas have driven millions of Filipinos into the squatters' colonies that dot the sprawling metropolitan area in and around Manila. Most of the land they occupy is privately owned, and clearing the dwellings often results in violence. The landowner had offered about $1,344 in …

  • SE Asia Stocks - Mostly down; Thai shares near 2-week low

    BANGKOK, May 26 (Reuters) - Most sharemarkets in Southeast Asia fell on Tuesday with the Thai index ending at a near two-week low and the Philippines touching a near four-week low after trade data while ... …

  • China breaks ground on lighthouse project in South China Sea

    China hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the building of two lighthouses in the disputed South China Sea, state media said on Tuesday, a move that is likely to escalate tensions in a region already jittery about Beijing's maritime ambitions. China's Ministry of Transport hosted the ceremony for the construction of two multi-functional lighthouses on Huayang Reef and Chigua Reef on the disputed Spratly islands, state news agency Xinhua said, defying calls from the United States and the …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options