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Mursi, Shafiq Enter Run-Off of Egypt's Presidential Election

CAIRO, May 28, 2012 (Xinhua) --

Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood's candidate Mohamed Mursi and ex-Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq entered the run-off round in June of the historic presidential vote after the fall of ex-leader Hosni Mubarak, the Higher Presidential Election Commission (HPEC) announced Monday.

Chairman of the HPEC, Farouk Sultan, told a press conference here on Monday that around 46 percent of Egypt's 50 million eligible voters cast their votes in the election's first round.

Among the 12 candidates, Mursi and Shafiq led the contest, garnering 5.765 million and 5.505 million votes respectively. They were followed by Hamdeen Sabahi and Aboul Fotouh, with 4.82 million and 4.065 million votes respectively. Former Arab League chief Amr Moussa ranked fifth with 2.588 million votes.

"At this historic moment, the HPEC successfully practiced its job to guarantee a smooth and peaceful transition of Egypt to true freedom and democracy with an elected president," Sultan said, adding that his commission had allowed observing organizations from 50 countries to monitor the election process.

"The HPEC have all together received seven complain files, four of which were refused because they were against the election law. The other three were also dismissed because they were sued beyond the appeal period," Sultan said.

Meanwhile, he denied that there were 600 to 900 thousand people from the police whose names had been added to the lists of voters for the benefit of specific candidate.

He further noted that since the People's Assembly elections that took place from November to January, only 941,715 voters, of which around 533,012 were women, were added to the electoral database, adding that names of ineligible voters had been aggregated and sent to all polling stations to be removed from the voting lists, official news agency MENA reported.

Sultan affirmed that his commission has worked with utmost impartiality and put Egypt's interests above any consideration, adding that it was keen to secure the ballot papers and keep them away from any arbitrary misuse or tampering.

He admitted there were various voting irregularities, but denied that those irregularities could affect the results of the election.

As for the security job of the election, Sultan thanked the successful role of the army and the police, hailing them as handling the election properly.

He also hailed the role of the ministries of justice and education in rendering the whole electoral process "successful", urging those voted in the first round to cast ballots again in the run-off.

During a parliament session on Monday, as many as 29 lawmakers from Upper Egypt including Mohamed al-Omda, deputy head of the parliament's Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee, said they will support Mohammed Morsi in the run-off of the presidential election due on June 16-17.

Ranking fourth in the first round, Aboul Fotouh on Monday called for putting off the run-off until the Supreme Constitutional Court rules the legality of the disenfranchisement law which aims to banning officials of the former regime from running for the presidency.

There is a good possibility that the qualification of one of the candidates will be revoked if the law is proved, he said.

He also pointed out that there were some "serious" violations in the first round, such as denying candidates' representatives access to polling stations in the period between the evening of the first election day and the start of the second, MENA reported.

Fotouh's remark was echoed by dozens of youths who staged a protest outside the High Court of Justice in Downtown Cairo, calling for enforcing the disenfranchisement law on Shafiq.

The election that kicked off last Wednesday was the first ever free presidential election after the fall of long-time leader Mubarak.

In addition, the Salafists' Nour party who laid their weight behind Fotouh in the first round announced on Monday that it will support Mursi in the run-off.

The run-off round between Mursi and Shafiq will be held on June 16-17, and the final result will be announced on June 21, as the ruling military council is expected to hand over power by June 30.

Editor: Lu Hui

Protesters torch HQ of presidential candidate Shafiq

By News Wires (text)

France 24, 2012, AFP -

Protesters set fire Monday to the headquarters of Egypt's presidential candidate and ex-premier Ahmad Shafiq after the election committee said he made it into a run off vote with an Islamist rival.

The assailants set fire to an annex of Shafiq's headquarters in Cairo hours after election officials announced that the holdover from Hosni Mubarak's ousted regime will face the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohammed Mursi in the second-round election.

A police official said eight suspects were arrested near the headquarters, a villa in the middle class Doqqi neighbourhood. Some of the protesters returned to the iconic Tahrir Square and threw campaign leaflets taken from Shafiq's headquarters on to the street.

Many appeared to be supporters of an unsuccessful leftwing candidate and opposed both Shafiq and Mursi. There were no immediate reports of injuries at the headquarters and firefighters said the blaze was quickly put under control. "We were inside when they attacked us," one member of Shafiq's campaign staff said, without identifying himself.

"They set fire to the garage that had general Shafiq's campaign literature." Earlier around 1,000 protesters had gathered in Tahrir Square to protest Shafiq's presence on the runoff ballot. "Shafiq will be president when I'm dead," read one poster on a car parked in the square, the hub of the nationwide uprising that ousted president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.

Announcing the results at an earlier press conference, election commission chief Farouq Sultan said no candidate had won a majority in the May 23-24 vote so the two with the highest votes, Mursi and Shafi, would enter a run off. The result has exposed a deep rift within the nation, which now will have to choose between a conservative Islamist and a symbol of the hated Mubarak regime.

A senior military official told AFP that the army, which took charge after Mubarak's ouster, had plans to deal with any violence ahead of the decisive election. Police officials said their forces were on alert. Sultan said Mursi had won with 24.77 percent of the votes, slightly ahead of Shafiq with 23.66 percent.

Leftist candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi came third with 20.71 percent, ahead of moderate Islamist Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh with 17.47 percent.

Former foreign minister Amr Moussa was fifth, trailing with 11.12 percent. The commission put the official turnout in the vote -- the first since the 2011 uprising that ousted Mubarak -- at 46 percent of the 50 million Egyptians who were eligible to cast a ballot in the historic election. Sultan said the commission had rejected seven appeals filed by candidates on May 26 and 27, citing electoral irregularities that "did not affect the outcome of the vote."

Both Mursi and Shafiq, who represent polar opposites in the country's fragmented politics after last year's uprising, are now trying to court the support of the losing candidates and their voters.

The Brotherhood, which alienated many other political parties after its domination of parliamentary elections last winter, has warned that the nation would be in danger if Shafiq wins and has pledged to become more inclusive. Two of the losing candidates, Moussa and Abul Fotouh, declined to endorse either of the frontrunners, however.

The Brotherhood has gained the support of the ultra-conservative Salafist Al-Nour party, which had supported Abul Fotouh in the first round. But a pending legal case could have serious implications for Shafiq's bid for the presidency. Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court is expected to rule on June 11 in a key case examining the constitutionality of a law barring senior Mubarak-era officials from running for office, according to the state-owned Al-Akhbar.

On Saturday, Mursi called a meeting of candidates that was ignored by both Sabbahi and Abul Fotouh. He promised at a news conference after the meeting that his party would be prepared to include aspects of other parties' programmes in its platform, but fell short of reassuring critics who say the group wants to monopolise power.

Shafiq also called on Saturday for broad support from former rivals, calling on his competitors by name to join him and promising there would be no return to the old regime. Addressing the young people who spearheaded the 2011 revolt, he said: "Your revolution has been hijacked and I am committed to bringing (it) back."

The contest presents a difficult choice for activists who led the revolt. For them, choosing Shafiq would be to admit the revolution had failed, but a vote for Mursi could threaten the very freedoms they fought for.

The presidential poll has followed a tumultuous military-led transition from autocratic rule marked by political upheaval and bloodshed, but which also witnessed free parliamentary elections, which saw Egypt's two main Islamist parties clinch nearly three quarters of the 498 seats in the legislature.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, in power since Mubarak's downfall, has pledged to restore Egypt to civilian rule by the end of June.

EGYPT Egyptian election body weighs fraud complaints

EGYPT ‘Top candidates’ claim mantle of Egypt's revolution

EGYPT Muslim Brotherhood claims spot in presidential run-off

Date created : 29/05/2012

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