Egypt’s future on the line as country awaits election result
EGYPT is braced for the announcement of its long-awaited presidential election results today, after a week in political limbo and a bid by the ruling military council to tighten its grip on power.
In a statement yesterday, the supreme presidential election commission finally confirmed that the outcome would be released this afternoon. Egypt has been on tenterhooks awaiting the results of the hotly contested race between the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi, and Ahmed Shafiq, a former member of Hosni Mubarak’s autocratic regime.
Tensions heightened after Egypt’s ruling generals issued a constitutional declaration granting themselves sweeping powers, including legislative authority, control of the budget and a veto over the drafting of the country’s new constitution.
The move sparked widespread protests, led by the Muslim Brotherhood, which has camped out in Cairo’s Tahrir Square demanding the decree be rescinded. The constitutional amendment came just days after the justice ministry granted the military extensive powers to arrest civilians and the army dissolved Egypt’s Islamist-dominated court, increasing fears of an all-out military takeover.
The Brotherhood, which announced that its candidate, Morsi, 60, had won the election by its count, is concerned the constitutional decree aims to curb the powers of the incoming president.
“Given the state of play, it is apparent the military is playing very hard and any president will have to make concessions to them,” said Maha Azzam, a fellow of international policy institute Chatham House.
Although the Muslim Brotherhood, local media and independent judges indicated that Morsi was ahead with around 52 per cent of the vote, Shafiq’s campaign also declared he had won last week.
The delay in announcing the official results, which was intended to give the commission time to review more than 400 complaints about voting irregularities, raised speculation that it was a measure to buy time for backroom negotiations between the ruling military council and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Reports emerged that the army might be seeking to pressure the Brotherhood into accepting some kind of power-sharing deal, whereby the group wins the presidency but agrees not to oppose the constitutional declaration.
Despite an anticipated stand-off with the army, a win for the Brotherhood’s candidate would generally be a more stable outcome for the country.
“A Morsi win would be seen as an endorsement of the Arab Spring,” Azzam said. “If Shafiq wins, it sends a clear message from the army that ‘we’re in control’,” she added.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Thursday 23 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 4 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 17 mph
Wind direction: North east