Tue, May 29, 2012 - Page 1 News List

Mursi, Shafiq into Egypt runoff: MENA

Reuters and AFP, CAIRO

A woman walks past graffiti that reads in Arabic, “Mubarak is coming,” referring to former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, in Cairo on Sunday.

Photo: AFP

The runoff in Egypt’s presidential election on June 16 and 17 will pit the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Mursi against Ahmed Shafiq, former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister and a former air force commander, Egypt’s MENA state news agency reported yesterday.

Quoting an unnamed source, MENA said all appeals had been rejected by the committee overseeing the election, which was due to announce the official results later in the day.

Meanwhile, a moderate Islamist candidate denounced the first-round presidential poll as dishonest yesterday in the strongest criticism yet of what was billed as the first free leadership election in the country’s history.

A committee source, who asked not to be named, said all complaints about last week’s voting had been rejected and “therefore the runoff is between Mursi and Shafiq.”

A Mursi-Shafiq runoff poses a dilemma for those among Egypt’s 50 million voters who are equally wary of Islamist rule or a return to military-backed secular autocracy.

“I reject these results and do not recognize them,” said Abdel Moneim Abol Fotouh, a former Brotherhood member, alleging that votes had been bought and representatives of candidates had been denied access to polling stations during the count.

Two other candidates lodged complaints: Hamdeen Sabahy, a leftist, who was unofficially put in third place; and former Arab League secretary-general Amr Moussa, who also queried the outcome.

“There are question marks on the result of the election,” Moussa told a separate news conference. “There were violations, but this should not change our minds on democracy and the necessity of choosing our president.”

The Brotherhood sought to muster a coalition to help Mursi against Shafiq, an admirer of Mubarak, who, like his “role model,” once commanded the air force.

The close contest has set both contenders scrambling for support, particularly the Brotherhood, which is trying to draw losing candidates and other political forces into a broad front to prevent a “counterrevolutionary” Shafiq victory.

Shafiq’s supporters see him as the man to impose security and crack down on protests viewed as damaging to the economy. Mursi appeals to Egyptians keen for Islamists to run a deeply religious country within a democratic framework.

However, Shafiq still faces other obstacles. The country’s top court is expected to rule on June 11 in a key case examining the constitutionality of a law barring Mubarak-era officials from running for office, the al-Ahkbar newspaper reported yesterday.

Citing unnamed judicial sources, the newspaper said “the Supreme Constitutional Court will rule on the constitutional challenge to the political isolation law on June 11.”

Shafiq was initially barred from standing in the presidential race.

However, late last month, the electoral commission accepted an appeal from Shafiq against the ban and ruled that he could stand in the key race.

The so-called political isolation law was adopted by the Islamist-dominated parliament last month and was intended to ban the candidacy of all senior Mubarak-era officials.

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