Egypt: Opposition alleges referendum rigging as Islamists claim victory |

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood has claimed victory in the first round of the country’s bitterly divisive constitutional referendum, with opposition forces complaining of large-scale rigging and violations. Unofficial results from Saturday’s first round showed 56% approval to 43% rejection on a low turnout of 33%, with a clear no win in Cairo, one of the 10 governorates where polling took place. The referendum is to be held in the country’s remaining 17 governorates next Saturday – where prospects for a no win are poorer. The figures were reported by the Freedom and Justice party (FJP), the political wing of the Brotherhood, which has been accurate in previous elections.

Egypt: Morsi wins Egypt’s presidential election | Al Jazeera

The Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi has officially won Egypt’s presidential election and will be the country’s next president, the electoral commission has announced. Morsi picked up 13.2 million votes out of just over 26 million, giving him about 51 per cent of the vote. His competitor, Ahmed Shafiq, the final prime minister under Hosni Mubarak, received 12.3 million. More than 800,000 ballots were invalidated. Farouq Sultan, the head of the election commission, delivered a long speech before announcing the results in which he defended the body’s “independence and integrity” amidst what he called meddling by unnamed political factions. The two candidates filed 456 complaints about the electoral process, Sultan said, most of them allegations of either forgery or Christian voters being blocked from polling stations in Upper Egypt. The vast majority of those complaints were dismissed.

Egypt: Mursi declared Egypt’s first civilian president, but military remains in control | Ahram Online

Muslim Brotherhood presidential candidate Mohamed Mursi has been named Egypt’s fifth president after narrowly defeating his rival, Mubarak-era PM Ahmed Shafiq, in the hotly-contested presidential elections’ runoffs. His victory, however, is barely expected to bring immediate stability to the turmoil-hit country. The final results, which gave 52 per cent of the vote to Mursi, were announced around 4:30pm, Sunday, at the Cairo headquarters of the Supreme Presidential Electoral Commission (SPEC). The announcement sparked massive celebrations in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the epicentre of Egypt’s uprising. … “I would like to thank the military council, the judicial system and the police for their efforts in making the elections clean and fair,” Mursi campaign manager Ahmed Abdel-Atti said shortly after the announcement.

Egypt: Islamists claim presidency | Reuters

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood claimed on Monday that its candidate had won the country’s first free presidential election, defeating Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister and ending 60 years of rule by presidents drawn from the armed forces. An election committee source told Reuters that Islamist Mohamed Morsy, a U.S.-educated engineer, was comfortably ahead of former air force general Ahmed Shafik with most of the votes tallied, but that the count had yet to be officially finalized. However, new head of state is likely to remain subordinate to the military for some time at least. In yet another twist in Egypt’s tortuous path from revolution to democracy, the ruling military council issued a decree as voting ended on Sunday that set strict limits on the president’s powers. On the eve of the election, it had already dissolved the Islamist-led parliament. Liberal and Islamist opponents denounced a “military coup”.

Egypt: Supreme Court to rule on disenfranchisement law today | Business Standard

In view of an expected ruling on the disenfranchisement law today, a number of political movements in Egypt have called for marches this morning to the Supreme Constitutional Court in Cairo suburb of Maadi. The SCC is anticipated to rule on the constitutionality of the Political Isolation Law, which would disqualify former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq from the presidential runoff election on 16 and 17 June if applied. The court would also consider the validity of the parliamentary polls. The April 6 Youth Movement has called on revolutionary groups and citizens to take part in a march demanding the application of the Political Isolation Law on all former regime members.

Editorials: The mother of the world: The birth of Egypt’s democracy | Al Jazeera

There is much fear and frustration about the unfolding presidential elections in Egypt. So much so that the astounding historical significance of the event and its widespread consequences for the rest of the Arab and Muslim world seem to have escaped us.  Analysts are asking: Has the revolution failed? Are people casting a referendum on the actual revolution when they select a formal Mubarak-era official as their top choice? Are the Islamists poised to take over Egypt and turn it into a theocracy? Is the military behind it all? Will it step in to establish “order” when people are finally tired of all these demonstrations and fear for their mundane well-being? Will the US, the Israelis, or the Saudis – with all their might and money – “allow” Egyptians actually to bring their revolution to fruition and thus effectively endanger their respective interests in the region?  People in and out of Egypt were naturally drawn to a crescendo, a bravura, where the first ever democratic presidential election in Egyptian history would be the final battle scene against the ancien régime. But once Ahmed Shafiq – a senior commander in the Egyptian Air Force and later prime minister for a few weeks – emerged as the main nemesis of Mohamed Morsi – Chairman of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) founded by the Muslim Brotherhood after the revolution – people began to wonder.

Egypt: Rivals claim run-off places | BBC

The Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate for Egyptian president, Mohammed Mursi, is likely to face former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq in a run-off vote, according to partial election results. More than 11,000 out of 13,000 polling stations have declared results, in the first election since strongman Hosni Mubarak was overthrown last year. Early counts put Mr Mursi on about 26% and Mr Shafiq at roughly 24%. Partial results are subject to recounts and final results are due on 29 May. The nationalist Hamdin Sabbahi, a fiery opponent of the Mubarak regime who became the choice of many of those supporting the revolution, appears to be in third place. He has taken a big lead in Alexandria, Egypt’s second city, the city’s electoral authorities have announced. Campaigners for Islamist candidate Mr Mursi, standing for the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, told reporters they were confident that he had won the most votes.

Editorials: Egypt’s presidency: The revolution within the Ikhwan | Al Jazeera

Regardless of the widespread cacophony, the decision by Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood (EMB) to contest the presidency is calculated to stop a “quiet coup” by the country’s top brass. The revolution within the EMB is no less important than the January 25 uprising that ousted Mubarak. Despite wide criticism, the EMB along with its political arm – the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) – ups the ante on the presidential elections. By settling on an EMB presidential nominee, the Ikhwan have not only raised political stakes, but also the value of contestation, even if the nomination of Khairat al-Shater may not be devoid of risks. What is the crux of this new dynamic and what is the significance of al-Shater’s nomination?

Editorials: Shater as president! Is Brotherhood turning Egypt into Sunni Iran? | Middle East Online

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood is to field its deputy chairman Khairat al-Shater as a candidate in the upcoming presidential election, the group’s party and supreme guide said on Saturday. “The Freedom and Justice Party will nominate Khairat al-Shater as a candidate for the presidency,” the FJP said on its Facebook page. The 61-year-old professor of engineering and business tycoon will be standing in the country’s first presidential election since a popular uprising ousted veteran leader Hosni Mubarak last year. The election is scheduled for May 23 and 24. The Brotherhood’s supreme guide, Mohammed Badie, confirmed Shater’s nomination at a news conference when he read out a brief statement from Shater, who was not present. “After it was decided to field my name in the presidential elections, I can only accept the decision of the Brotherhood. I will therefore resign from my position as deputy chairman,” Shater’s statement said.

Egypt: Voting begins for second round of Shura Council elections | Egypt Independent

The second round of elections for Egypt’s upper house, the Shura Council, began Tuesday. The end of this round, after runoffs, will mark the official conclusion of polling for Egypt’s first post-Hosni Mubarak Parliament, for which elections began in late November last year. Polling will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday in 14 governorates: Aswan, Beheira, Beni Suef, Giza, Ismailia, Kafr al-Sheikh, Luxor, Matrouh, Minya, Port Said, Qalyubiya, Sharqiya, Sohag and Suez.

Egypt: Security heightened for elections amid reports of violence | Al-Masry Al-Youm

Security forces stepped up their presence outside polling stations Wednesday for the third round of People’s Assembly elections, after monitors said supporters of various candidates seemed likely to clash. Monitors said the increase in security presence began last night and continued into Wednesday.

Polling stations in nine governorates opened at 8 am for the second day in the final round of voting. The nine governorates included in this round are Qalyubiya, Gharbiya, Daqahlia, North Sinai, South Sinai, Minya, Matrouh, Qena and New Valley.

Police and military officials made several statements about the heightened security measures taken after fighting and bickering took place outside polling stations in Daqahlia and Qena governorates. Security forces also prevented clashes between Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) and Nour Party supporters at polling stations in Daqahlia.

Egypt: Islamists claim sweep of second round vote | Reuters

Egypt’s two leading Islamist parties said on Sunday their separate party lists secured about three-quarters of votes cast in the second round of a parliamentary election, extending their lead in the three-stage vote.

A source from the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party said it was on track to win about 40 percent of votes for party lists, based on results from most districts. A spokesman for the ultra-conservative Salafi al-Nour Party said its list received about 35 percent of votes. In the first round of the six-week poll, the FJP won about 37 percent of votes for lists and Nour secured about 24 percent.

The poll is the first since President Hosni Mubarak was ousted in February. The West long looked to strongmen in the region like Mubarak to keep a lid on Islamists, and has watched warily as they have come top in votes in Tunisia, Morocco and now Egypt.

Egypt: Second round of parliamentary election in Egypt | BBC News

Egyptians are going to the polls in the second round of elections to a new parliament – the first since President Hosni Mubarak was toppled in February. Voting has been relatively peaceful, with no major irregularities reported. The first round earlier this month was dominated by Islamist parties, with the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party winning a third of vote.

They are set to consolidate their gains this week, with polling taking place in more rural and conservative areas. The long and complex election process will not be completed until next month. The aim is to elect a lower house of parliament, which will then appoint a 100-member committee to draft a new constitution.

Under Egypt’s complex electoral system, two-thirds of the 498 elected seats in the People’s Assembly will be picked through proportional representation, using lists drawn up by parties and alliances. The remaining seats are decided by a first-past-the-post-system, with individual candidates required to win more than 50% of the votes to avoid a run-off contest.

Egypt: Islamists claim most seats in run-off vote | Reuters

The Muslim Brotherhood said on Wednesday it had won most seats in an opening round of run-offs in Egypt’s staggered parliamentary vote, consolidating its lead over rival liberals and hardline Salafi Islamists.

The Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), which has promised to work with a broad coalition in the new assembly, secured 34 individual seats out of the 45 it contested in the run-offs on Monday and Tuesday, a party source told Reuters. Official results are not expected until Thursday.

A total 56 individual seats were up for grabs in the first round of the election, with others assigned to party lists. Two more rounds follow, with the last run-off set for mid-January. Salafis were the surprise runners-up in the opening stage of the ballot but the Islamist rivals are playing up their differences, giving liberals scope to take part in a post-election government and shape the future constitution.