x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Morsi and Shafiq confirmed for Egypt run-off vote

Egyptian presidential election commission says it has denied seven appeals against last week’s voting and confirms a run-off election between the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate and Hosni Mubarak’s final prime minister.

CAIRO // An Egyptian presidential election commission said yesterday it had denied seven appeals against last week’s voting and confirmed a run-off election would take place between a prominent Muslim Brotherhood member and a former air force commander.

Farouk Sultan, the president of the Supreme Presidential Election Commission, said three of the appeals were denied because they were filed after a Sunday deadline. The other four were denied because of lack of evidence.

The commission did find some irregularities in voting, leading to the nullification of 460,000 votes. Election rules require a clear mark next to the candidate’s name. Any additional marks render the ballot invalid.

The campaigns of Hamdeen Sabahi, a Nasserist candidate who came in third in the race, and Amr Moussa, a former foreign minister who came in fifth, alleged before yesterday’s news conference that 900,000 soldiers and police officers unlawfully received voter cards to tip the scales.

They contended that these voters helped Ahmed Shafiq, the former air force commander who was Hosni Mubarak’s final prime minister amid the uprising that forced him to resign, come in second. But Mr Sultan said yesterday that the allegations were false.

The run-off will be held on June 16 and 17 between Mr Shafiq, who came in second with about 23.2 per cent of the vote, and Mohammed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate, who was first with 24.3 per cent of the vote. A total of 23,672,236 people voted, which represents about 46.4 per cent of eligible voters.

Both men have sought to broaden their appeal since preliminary results released on Friday showed them as the front-runners. Mr Morsi has reached out to losing candidates to discuss the possibility of giving them a vice president’s position and called for the formation of a coalition government. Mr Shafiq has attempted to recast himself as a presidential candidate who will complete the demands of the revolutionaries who led millions of Egyptians to protest against the Mubarak regime.

But those initial efforts appeared to falter over the last four days. Mr Sabahi’s Karama Party said it would boycott the election and that he would endorse neither candidate.

Mr Moussa did not give an endorsement during a news conference yesterday, instead calling on Egypt to pressure the new government not to create a religious state or return control to the old regime.

A “return to the old regime is unacceptable,” he said. “So is exploiting religion in politics.”

Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, who describes himself as a moderate Islamist and is a former member of the Muslim Brotherhood, has also declined so far to endorse a candidate. He won about 17.1 per cent of the votes.

The election will force voters to make a choice between polar opposite leaders. Mr Morsi’s election would give the Muslim Brotherhood a dominant role in government because the group’s Freedom and Justice Party already control nearly 50 per cent of the seats in parliament. And the election of Mr Shafiq, whose rhetoric closely matches the former presidents of Egypt’s past, amounts to the continuation of the old regime, according to many activists.

bhope@thenational.ae

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