Egyptian president "to be confirmed Sunday"
Published Saturday, June 23, 2012
Egyptians find out on Sunday whether their next president will be a former military officer or an Islamist from the army's old adversary, the Muslim Brotherhood, after a long week's wait since a vote to pick a successor to the deposed Hosni Mubarak.
Impatient Brotherhood supporters have taken to Cairo's Tahrir Square day and night since a call in midweek from their leaders to demand the current ruling generals cancel measures they say are designed to hem in the powers of the man they believe was elected last weekend, Islamist Mohamed Morsi.
Hundreds were there again on Saturday, chanting "Victory for Morsi!" before officials finally set a time for announcing the result.
The election committee will do so at news conference at 3 pm on Sunday, committee official Hatem Bagato said on Saturday, after run-off voting was held on June 16-17.
The party atmosphere in the square anticipated what could be one of the most dramatic turns of events in the Middle East in decades - the emergence of an Islamist president of the most populous Arab nation.
A delay in announcing the result, initially scheduled for Thursday, was explained by officials as required to deal with appeals over local voting irregularities. But it has prompted Brotherhood concern that the military-led "deep state," left over when Mubarak was toppled last year, was trying to steal victory, just as it routinely rigged votes in the past.
"We want the military council to announce the real results without forgery," said Hassan Eissa, 43, an accountant from north of Cairo who was demonstrating on the square. He accused the army of reneging on promises to hand over when it dissolved the Islamist-led parliament on the eve of the presidential run-off and then took for itself legislative powers by decree.
"They have no right," Eissa said. "Egyptians shouldn't be under any kind of guardianship after the revolution."
Reformist politician Mohamed ElBaradei said he had been in contact with the military and Morsi's camp to avoid a showdown, but said he was worried that if Shafik were declared winner "we are in for a lot of instability and violence...a major uprising."
On Saturday, a group of liberal and leftist groups announced the formation of an alternative "civil front," seeking support from those wanting neither military nor religious rule.
"Those who are attacking the military council, have allied with it when their interests were in line," said Ahmed Said, head of the liberal Free Egyptians Party, noting links between the Muslim Brotherhood and ruling generals in the past year.