Egypt’s military and the Muslim Brotherhood traded blame for rising tensions Friday as the country awaited the outcome of a presidential runoff vote that pits an Islamist against ousted leader Hosni Mubarak’s former prime minister. Brotherhood leaders said the ruling military council is holding the election results hostage as it bargains to maintain its lock on power. Tens of thousands of Brotherhood supporters have rallied in the capital’s Tahrir Square in a show of force backing candidate Mohammed Morsi, who has warned against manipulating results in a vote that he says he has won. The military for its part declared it was acting for “higher national interests’’ and vowed to crack down on any violence by any group unhappy with the electoral outcome. At stake is whether or not Egypt will emerge from the instability of the 16-month transition that followed Mubarak’s 2011 overthrow, or whether the power struggles will continue or even escalate to a more dangerous level. The Brotherhood has said repeatedly that it would not resort to violence, but several media outlets have launched a vigorous campaign against the movement claiming it will plunge the country into chaos if Morsi does not win.
Tensions soared Wednesday when the country’s military-appointed election commission indefinitely delayed announcing the results of the weekend elections. The Brotherhood announced soon after polls closed Sunday that it had beaten rival candidate Ahmed Shafiq, an ex-air force commander whom many view as the military’s preferred candidate, by 52 percent to 48 percent. Shafiq has also claimed victory by a narrow margin. Many accuse the military of planning to direct the election commission to announce a Shafiq win. Others say the commission has determined there was a genuine Shafiq victory but fears that no one will believe them. The commission itself says it is sorting out the claims of election violations filed by both candidates.
Full Article: Tension soars as Egypt awaits vote results – Boston.com.