Few analysts were willing to predict the outcome of the battle between the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi and Ahmed Shafiq, a former general and aide to ex-President Hosni Mubarak, despite the Islamist movement’s long domination of the Egyptian street. The Brotherhood said opinion polls showed their man would win a free vote comfortably. But they also claimed that “fake voters” were appearing on polling station lists – dead people and members of the security forces, who in Egypt are supposed to remain neutral and are disqualified.
“What is happening is a ‘soft fraud’,” said Mohammed Mustafa, a campaign agent for Mr Morsi in Manshiet Nasser, a poor Cairo suburb. “At the end of the election we will calculate all these examples and see if it’s an organised process or just individual cases. If it’s fraud not only us but the Egyptian people will react.” Mr Shafiq has also consolidated support outside his core base of old regime supporters and minorities such as Christians who fear the rise of political Islam.