|Brotherhood man promises Islamic law in Egypt|
|Written by Tom Perry, Reuters|
|Friday, 25 May 2012|
(Reuters) - When he joined the race for Egypt's presidency just five weeks ago, Mohamed Mursi was mocked as the Muslim Brotherhood's uncharismatic "spare tyre" after its first-choice candidate was disqualified.
But the 60-year-old engineer came first in the opening round, according to a Brotherhood tally after most votes were counted, thanks to a campaign that showed off the unequalled political muscle of Egypt's oldest Islamist movement.
The run-off on June 16 and 17 with second-placed Ahmed Shafiq, who served as deposed leader Hosni Mubarak's last prime minister, gives Egyptians a stark choice between a military man linked to the past and an Islamist whose conservative message appeals to some and alarms others in this nation of 82 million.
A Brotherhood official said that with votes counted from about 12,800 of the roughly 13,100 polling stations, Mursi had 25 percent, Shafiq 23 percent, a rival Islamist Abdel Moneim Abol Fotouh 20 percent and leftist Hamdeen Sabahy 19 percent.
Calling himself the only authentic Islamist in the race, Mursi has targeted devout voters whose support helped the Brotherhood and the ultra-orthodox Salafi Islamist movement to secure 70 percent of parliament seats earlier this year.
He has promised to implement Islamic sharia during rallies peppered with references to the Koran, God and the Prophet Mohammad and occasionally interrupted by pauses for mass prayer.
But he has seldom spelt out what that would mean for Egypt, where piety runs deep and the constitution already defines the principles of Islamic law as the main source of legislation.
Mursi has called for a review of Cairo's 1979 peace treaty with Israel, saying Egypt's neighbor has not respected the agreement, a line mirroring that of most of the other candidates in the race. The group has said it will not tear up the deal.
"We will take a serious step towards a better future, God willing," Mursi said at his final campaign rally on Sunday, promising to combat any corrupt hangers-on from Mubarak's era.
"If they take a step to take us backwards, to forge the will (of the people) and fiddle with security, we know who they are," he said. "We will throw them in the rubbish bin of history."
Mursi has cast himself as a reluctant latecomer to the election who is running for the sake of the nation and God.
EMPHASIS ON SHARIA
A stocky, bespectacled man with a grey-white beard, Mursi has traveled across Egypt promoting the Brotherhood's "renaissance project" - an 80-page manifesto based on what it terms its "centrist understanding" of Islam.
His success has dismayed non-Islamists, not least Christians who make up about a tenth of the population, unconvinced by promises that freedoms will be safe in a Brotherhood-led Egypt.
"It was for the sake of the Islamic sharia that men were ... thrown into prison. Their blood and existence rests on our shoulders now," Mursi said during one campaign rally.
"We will work together to realize their dream of implementing sharia," said the Brotherhood contender, who himself spent time in jail under Mubarak.
Mursi, who obtained his doctorate from the United States, is a long-serving, influential figure in the Brotherhood, a movement outlawed under Mubarak but which won close to half of the seats in parliamentary elections held after his overthrow.
Mursi ran only after the electoral commission barred Khairat al-Shater, the Brotherhood's preferred candidate, in April.
Like other Islamist contenders, Mursi has courted the ultra-orthodox Salafi Islamist movement, which has emerged in the past year to challenge the Brotherhood's dominance.
The Nour Party, a Salafi group that won more than a fifth of the seats in the parliamentary vote, endorsed Mursi's main Islamist rival, Abol Fotouh, who parted ways with the Brotherhood last year and cast himself as a moderate.
In a gesture to Gama'a al-Islamiya, another Salafi group, Mursi has pledged to work for the release of Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, a militant preacher imprisoned in the United States in the 1990s for plotting attacks in New York.
Abdel-Rahman is the spiritual leader of Gama'a al-Islamiya, which was involved in the 1981 assassination of President Anwar Sadat but renounced violence in 1997. The group has entered mainstream politics since Mubarak was toppled.
Another cleric, the independent Safwat el-Hegazi, added a radical flavor to Mursi's campaign, taking to the stage at his events to call for a Muslim super-state with Jerusalem as its capital and drawing enthusiastic chants from the crowds.
Mursi's own speech-making style is stiff and formal. Critics say he lacks the charisma of some of his rivals. Other Brotherhood leaders, Shater among them, have appeared alongside Mursi at campaign events, reinforcing the impression this is a presidential bid by a movement, not an individual.
The son of a peasant, Mursi has spoken of a simple childhood in a village in the Nile Delta province of Sharqia, recalling how his mother taught him prayer and the Koran.
He studied engineering at Cairo University and in 1978 went to California to complete his studies. He returned to Egypt in 1985. Two of his five children hold U.S. citizenship.
Helmi el-Gazzar, a Brotherhood MP who has known Mursi for years, describes him as a scientific character with an analytical mind. "He was an indefatigable man, tangibly eager to perform the tasks for which he was responsible," Gazzar told Reuters, recalling his days working with Mursi in Cairo.
Mursi's critics portray him as a Brotherhood apparatchik and part of a conservative clique within the group who has long been dismissive of other political forces in Egypt.
"He feels they do not have roots in the Egyptian street," said Mohamed Habib, a former deputy Brotherhood leader, who left the group last year in protest at its post-Mubarak policies.
Head of the Freedom and Justice Party that the Brotherhood established last year, Mursi comes across as deeply committed to the 84-year-old movement. His daughter is married to the son of another Brotherhood leader and he has described his wife, who wears a long, cape-like headscarf, as a Brotherhood activist.
GOD AND NATION
Like other members, Mursi has sworn allegiance to the Brotherhood, raising questions over whether that would outweigh his loyalty to Egypt. Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie has said Mursi would be relieved of the oath if elected president.
Mursi has described his challenge for the presidency in terms of duty. "I am walking this path to satisfy God and out of concern for our nation and people," he said.
Despite his campaign trail emphasis on Islamic law, when it comes to television interviews, he has typically tried to ease concerns about what Islamist rule would mean.
For example, he has said Egypt will not become a theocracy, adding that there is little difference between the phrase "the principles of the sharia" - the term found in the current Egyptian constitution - and the sharia itself.
Pushed by one TV interviewer to clarify what Islamist rule might mean for bikini-wearing on Egypt's beaches - one element of a vital tourist industry - Mursi did not give a clear answer.
He described such issues as "very marginal, very superficial and affecting a very limited number of places", adding that sector specialists must be consulted on all draft laws.
The Brotherhood's "renaissance" programme sketches out the group's vision on everything from fighting inflation to forging ties with the United States on a more equal footing. It envisions deeper ties with Turkey - a Muslim state that Brotherhood leaders often cite as a model of success.
Mursi has cited fear of judgment day as one reason for seeking the Egypt's top office. "We are worried that God will ask us, on the day of reckoning: 'What did you do when you saw that the nation was in need of sacrifice and effort?'" he said.
(Editing by Alistair Lyon)
Live updates: By 3PM Friday, Mursi and Shafiq battle for 1st place; Sabbahi in 3rd
All results compiled from Ahram online
15:34 FINAL results are in from the governorate of North Sinai, according to Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website. Turnout of voters in North Sinai reached around 41 per cent, out of a total of 207,906.
15:25 For the first time in history, Egyptians across the nation are choosing their president in a free election. As the final results come in, the field has narrowed to three: the Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Mursi, Mubarak-era minister Ahmed Shafiqand Nasserist Hamdeen Sabbahi.
However, significant questions remain. Without a constitution, it remains unclear even what powers the new president will have.
The Egyptian constitution was dissolved after the ouster of Mubarak in 2011, and the ruling military council has been ruling with an interim constitution after a referendum in March of the same year. After the dissolution of the body tasked with drafting the country's new constitution, Egypt remains without a constitution.
Political science researcher Hani Al-Aasar tackles the subject in an Ahram Online article on the eve of the polls:
Egypt's next president will begin his tenure in the absence of a national charter specifying his responsibilities and powers
15:00 Egypt is currently waiting for the results of Cairo, Giza, Asiut, and Qalyoubiya governorates. The four governorates include one third of the total registered voters (15 million and 480,674 voters).
14:20 FINAL results are in from the Muslim Brotherhood's birthplace Ismailia governorate, according to Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website. Turnout of voters in the Suez Canal governorate reached around 48.9 per cent, out of a total of 700,515 registered voters.
14:34 FINAL results are in from the southwestern governorate of El-Wadi El-Gedid, according to Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website. Turnout of voters in El-Wadi El-Gedid reached around 36.9 per cent, out of a total of 141,959.
14:00 FINAL results are in from the Fayoum governorate, according to Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website. Turnout of voters in Upper Egypt governorate reached around 38.8 per cent, out of a total of 1,554,788 registered voters.
13:30 Final results aggregated by Ahram Online of counted votes in 18 out of 27 governorates (Daqahliya, Sharqiya, Alexandria, Beheira, Gharbiya, Minya, Sohag, Menoufiya, Kafr El-Sheikh, Qena, Beni Suef, Aswan, Damietta, Luxor, Port Said, Suez, Red Sea and South Sinai) show that with 41.6 per cent turnout, Brotherhood candidate Mursi is in first place, followed by Mubarak's last prime minister Shafiq, while the Nasserist candidate Sabbahi, the surprise of this election so far, has fallen back into third place - after the totals of Sharqiya and Sohag governorates were announced.
The results thus far are as following:
Table showing results of 18 governorates. Daqahliya, Sharqiya, Gharbiya and Menoufiya are the weights behind Shafiq's lead. Here
13:20 Final results are in from the Upper Egyptian governorate of Sohag, according to Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website. Turnout of voters in Sohag reached around 27.3 per cent, out of a total of 2,347,958 registered voters.
13:15 Final results are in from the coastal Red Sea Governorate, according to Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website. The popular touristic governorate achieved a 40.4 per cent turnout out of 225,218 registered voters.
12:50 Final results are in from the large working class Imbaba district in Giza governorate, according to CBC Satellite TV channel.
Imbaba is a traditional stronghold of Salafists. The Salafist Nour Party and Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya's Building and Development Party, as well as the ultra-conservative Salafist Call and Al-Jamaa Al-Salafiya had previously announced their intention to support to Islamist Abul-Fotouh after the disqualification of Salafist Hazem Abu-Ismail from the presidential race. Despite this, Nasserist candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi is reported to have won the most votes in the district.
A total of 239,485 voters cast their ballots.
12:40 FINAL results are in from Sharqiya governorate, according to Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website. Sharqiya is the fourth largest governorate in terms of registered voters. A total of 1,666,193 voters cast their ballots with a turnout of 47.6 per cent.
12:35 Final results aggregated by Ahram Online of final vote counts in 15 different governorates show a total of 11,088,494 voters cast their ballot in these governorates with a turnout of 42 per cent.
12:10 The presidential campaign of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party candidate, Mohamed Mursi, announced on the group's official website that after counting 90 per cent of the total votes around Egypt's governorates, Mursi is still leading the race.
The campaign claims that the runoffs will be between Mursi and Ahmed Shafiq, according to the numbers they boast.
The Freedom and Justice Party, the political wing of the Brotherhood, will hold a press conference on Friday night to announce the latest updates. The exact time and location of the conference are yet to be announced.
12:01 Final results are in from the coastal governorate of Alexandria according to Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website. Alexandria is the fifth largest governorate in terms of registered voters. A total of 1,761,000 voters cast their ballots with a turnout of 53.5 per cent.
11:46 Near final results are in from the Upper Egypt governorate of Luxor, only with the exclusion of the city of Al-Qarna, according to Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website. A total of 186,128 voters cast their ballot with a turnout of 27.6 per cent.
11:55 On Friday morning, presidential frontrunner Ahmed Shafiq expressed his gratitude to all voters who chose him over the course of two days of voting in the first post-Mubarak presidential elections.
On his official Facebook page, Shafiq also promised that if he wins he will ensure that Egyptians live in a climate of freedom.
"To the generous people of Egypt, justice will reign," Shafiq said.
"All thanks and appreciation for your efforts in supporting me as a candidate," he continued.
The administrator of Shafiq's page also directed a few words to rival presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi.
"The Shafiq campaign salutes the honourable Sabbahi, and God bless him. If he wins we will not be upset because he is a patriotic man."
11:50 The presidential campaign of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) candidateMohamed Mursi announced on their official website that with 90 per cent of the total votes across Egypt's governorates counted, Mursi is still leading the race.
The campaign said that "according to the numbers we have" they can confirm that the run-off will be between the Brotherhood leader Mursi and Mubarak's last prime minister Ahmed Shafiq.
FJP leaders and representatives from Mursi's campaign will hold a press conference on Friday evening to announce the latest updates, with time and place to be announced later Friday.
11:38 FINAL results are in from the Delta governorate of Menoufiya, according to Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website. A total of 1,064,543 voters cast their ballot with a turnout of 47.9 per cent. Worth mentioning that Menoufiya is the home town of former presidents Hosni Mubarak and Anwar Sadat.
11:30 Dark horse Hamdeen Sabbahi's official Facebook page has just announced, in response to the incoming ballot results: "If God forbids it and we don't make it to the runoffs, we will be honoured to have supported the right candidate. We stood by him, we are honoured to be members of his page, we will continue until the dream to live in a country with dignity, pride and security comes true. Our greetings to all honourable patriots."
The official page administrator also stated: "We are still dreaming of a better future, there is still hope. Only 55 per cent of the results have come out. We still have 45 per cent to go. Who has hope like me? I am sure the eagle [Sabbahi's voting symbol] is in the runoff."
11:05 According to state news agency MENA, members of the Carter Center, a US-based NGO that focuses on international democracy promotion, praised Egyptian authorities on Friday morning for their precautions taken to ban violations during the first round of the presidential elections, in contrast to those which members had witnessed in the recent parliamentary elections.
Based on their nationwide observation at polling stations, Carter Center monitors stated that the presidential elections have been much more organised and much smoother than they observed at polling stations in Alexandria during the parliamentary elections.
The Carter Center will provide a report after the vote count in all governorates is finished. The report will touch on the electoral process, campaigning, and the voting from the beginning of the first round until the announcement of the official results.
10:38 FINAL results are in from the Upper Egypt governorate of Beni Suef, according to Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website. A total of 612,553 voters cast their ballot with a turnout of 42.9 per cent.
10:25 In a phone conversation this morning, Nesma Youssef, the representative of Abul-Fotouh's campaign in 6 October City, located on the outskirts of Cairo, described to Ahram Online how she felt, as incoming results indicate a two-horse race between Mursi and Shafiq.
"I didn't sleep until 4am," she said. "How did Shafiq get all these votes? Really, how? I am extremely depressed. I will pray that Hamdeen Sabbahi and Abul-Fotouh will be cursed for leaving us to choose between Shafiq and Mursi in the runoffs.
"One of them should have stepped down for the other, just like Abdallah El-Ashaal helped Mursi in polling stations. We wouldn’t have lost. I am in shock.
"Hamdeen did really well among all governorates; he came in first place in 6 October, and Abul-Fotouh came second. Mursi and Shafiq trailed way behind in fourth and fifth places respectively. I don’t know what to do."
10:20 BREAKING: The central campaign of the Brotherhood candidate, Mohamed Mursi, announced at a press conference that the results they have indicate Mursi will compete with Shafiq in the presidential election runoffs.
9:55 FINAL results are in from the country's sixth largest governorate of Beheira – in terms of registered voters, according to Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website. A total of 1,329,753 voters cast their ballot with turnout reaching 41.2 per cent.
9:10 FINAL results are in from the Upper Egypt governorate of Aswan, according to Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website. A total of 252,579 voters cast their ballot with a turnout of 29.4 per cent.
8:32 FINAL results are in from the eighth largest governorate of Minya – in terms of registered voters, according to Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website. A total of 943,915 voters cast their ballot with a turnout of 35.4 per cent.
8:24 FINAL results are in from the Delta governorate of Kafr El-Sheikh, according to Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website. A total of 774,059 voters cast their ballot with a turnout of 41.5 per cent.
7:57 A Brotherhood official tells Reuters that Mursi and Shafiq will compete in June's run-off vote.
7:37 FINAL results are in from the country's third largest governorate of Daqahliya, according to Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website. A total of 1,685,399 voters cast their ballot with turnout reaching 42.1 per cent.
It's another tight contest, as Sabbahi continues to suprise, while Abul-Fotouh's and Moussa's poor performance is also raising eyebrows. The rise of military-man Shafiq is yet another surprise. Mursi's sizeable electoral gains, however, were not unexpected.
7:29 For more information on tonight's frontrunners, click here.
7:22 FINAL results are in from the country's seventh largest governorate of Gharbiya, according to Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website:
7:18 FINAL results are in from Cairo's Sahel district, as announced by it's general electoral committee. The district, which boasts a significant Coptic Christian population, saw 201,052 voters cast their ballots, thrusting Shafiq into a comfortable lead.
7:06 Good morning to our colleagues at Egypt's state news agency, MENA. With yet another salute, they begin their coverage.
7:03 FINAL results are in from the coastal governorate of Suez, according to Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website. A total of 207,891 voters cast their ballot with turnout reaching 54.5 per cent.
6:43 Some Egyptian TV stations have reverted to the black and white films of yesteryear. Who can blame them? The counting process has markedly slowed.
Evan Hill seems to agree, tweeting: Time to sleep. If it took 8 hours to get 50% of results in, when I wake up hashoof el ra2is il gai fi masr.
Four governorates out of Egypt's 27 have thus far submitted their final results with Abul-Fotouh entering the fold, coming on top in the governorate of Damietta by a very slim margin. In the Upper Egyptian governorate of Qena, Brotherhood darling Mursi overpowered military-man Shafiq by 3.6 per cent.
6:33 Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website reports the following results from Cairo's traffic-choked district of Nasr City:
6:04 FINALresults are in from the Upper Egyptian governorate of Qena, according to Al-Hayat TV. A total of 377,092 voters cast their ballot with turnout reaching 23.5 per cent.
5:42 FINALresults are in from the coastal governorate of Damietta, according to Al-Hayat TV. A total of 438,334 voters cast their ballot with turnout reaching 51.4 per cent.
It could be the closest contest yet.
5:23 Dawn is breaking across Egypt, but election officials are still hard at work tallying votes.
Of the country's 27 governorates, only two have submitted final results.
Moussa, who seems to be struggling elsewhere in the country, captured a decisive win in Egypt's smallest governorate, South Sinai. In the nearby governorate of Port Said, Sabbahi trounced his rivals, garnering twice as many votes as the next most popular contender.
The Brotherhood, however, continue to proclaim their man's dominance, placing Mursi ahead with a comfortable margin in their latest tabulation.
5:16 Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website lists the following results from 200 out of 201 polling stations in the governorate of Ismailiya:
5:13 The Freedom and Justice Party announce results from half of Egypt's polling stations, where about 10 million out of a total of 50.5 million registered voters cast their ballots:
5:06 FINAL results from 110 polling stations in the Alexandria district of Al-Montazah, where 16 per cent of the coastal city's 3.2 million voters reside:
4:51 The Freedom and Justice Party says on their official Facebook page that they will soon announce the final results from 6,661 polling stations.
4:43 Here are the largest ten governorates in Egypt by numbers of registered voters. Altogether they make up 69 per cent of Egypt's total 50.5 million constituents.
4:41 It's Sabbahi again in the lead. The Jay Leno doppelganger turns the tables in Beheira's capital city Damanhour, topping the list of contenders according to Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website:
4:35 Nasserist contender Sabbahi sweeps the Port Said vote, according to an official statement by the seaside governorate's electoral operation room:
4:25 FINAL results are in from all 20 polling stations in the tourist hub of South Sinai with Mubarak's ex-foreign minister Amr Moussa claiming a clear victory. A total of 26,297 votes were cast with a turnout rate of 42 per cent:
4:06 Egyptian state run news agency, MENA, called it a night at 3:30am, signing off with "We salute you and end our coverage." Apparently the sandman got the best of them.
Ahram Online's team will be here till the bitter end.
3:50 Darkhorse candidate Sabbahi remains comfortably ahead in coastal Alexandria, while tonight's leading man, Mursi, trails in third, according to Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website, which reports the following results from 100 of 691 polling stations:
3:36 Results from 28 polling stations in the Delta governorate of Gharbiya, according to Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website:
3:18 A top judicial source tells Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website that 1,750 out of more than 13,000 polling stations have returned the following results:
3:09 Is there something in the water? Two of Egypt's seaside governorates appear to be going against the tide, plumping for Sabbahi over Mursi.
Results from 43 out of 104 polling stations in the governorate of Port Said, according to Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website:
3:05 Ahram Online's news team aren't the only ones burning the midnight oil. Put on your kettles, because this is shaping up to be a long night. Egypt's Twitter users are seemingly hopped up on caffeine, as they weigh in on Mursi's initial wave of good fortune. Here's a taster:
Khaled Elgindy tweets: Morsy-Shafiq run-off is the battle MB has been waiting for. Morsy-AbulFotouh run-off is the battle MB desperately wants to avoid.
Mosa'ab Elshamy tweets: Not blaming Copts for Shafik's rise but two Qs: 1. Why not a non-Islamist Sabahi? 2. Didn't the "secular", military man Mubarak oppress you?
su zee tweets: Dear Egyptians freaking out on twitter, calm down. Remind urself: u survived Mubarak. U made a revolution. U can survive the next president.
And our very own Hani Shukrallah tweets: Look at it this way: If Mursi wins MBs will be finished in 2 yeas; if Shafiq wins, Mubarak regime will be finished by next Jan.
2:49 Results from 184 out of 201 polling stations in the governorate of Ismailia, according to Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website:
2:16 Results from 38 out of 238 polling stations in the governorate of Damietta, according to Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website:
2:03 More results from the governorate of Ismailiya culled from 92 out of 201 polling stations, according to Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website:
1:54 Results from 68 polling stations out of a total of 552 in the governorate of Assuit, according to Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website:
1:38 Results from 678 polling stations, according to the Freedom and Justice Party:
1:34 Results from seven polling stations in the Beheira Governorate's Itay Al-Baroud constituency, according toAl-Ahram's Arabic-language news website:
1:04 The Freedom and Justice Party have released voting results from 236 polling stations across 16 governorates, showing their contender well in the lead.
There are more than 13,000 polling stations countrywide.
12:25 The results of 18 polling stations out of 81 in the governorate of Marsa Matrouh:
12:24 The results of 16 polling stations out of 691 in the governorate of Alexandria, according to the Salafist Nour Party's operating room:
12:19 The results of 38 polling stations out of 201 in Ismailiya governorate:
12:09 The Brotherhood's fortunes are less rosy in Cairo's upscale district of Zamalek, reports Ahram Online's correspondent Osman El-Sharnoubi.
Mursi received 89 votes out of a total 3,165 in polling station no 4 in Zamalek. Moussa came first with 1,086 votes followed by Shafiq with 787, Sabbahi with 625 and Abul-Fotouh with 467.
12:01 Mursi is enjoying a comfortable lead in the Upper Egyptian governorate of Sohag after 51 polling stations finished tallying their votes.
Mursi gathered 12,209 votes, while Abul-Fotouh trailed with 6,820 votes.
Shafiq came in at a close third with 6,330 votes; Moussa fourth with 5,106; and Sabbahi fifth with 1,588.
23:57 El-Erian states that Mursi's presidential programme, entitled the 'Renaissance Project', will be set into motion in a few days. Using typically grandiose rhetoric, the leading Brotherhood member states Egypt now stands on the cusp of a new era.
"These elections are being followed not only by Egyptians and Arabs, but the entire world is waiting with bated breath for the results," El-Erian states. "Egyptians have proved that they are capable of forging a new history for their country."
Sounding assured the medical doctor asserts, "We are confident that Egypt's next president will be Mohamed Mursi."
23:45 El-Erian states that only 250 polling stations – representing 2 per cent of the total – have completed tallying the votes, adding that their man, Mursi, is in the lead.
23:37 The Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party announce in a press conference that the countrywide voter turnout was 50 per cent. The party thanked the Egyptian people, who voted freely for the first time in history. Mursi is leading the vote count across the country, according to the their spokesman, who adds that a preliminary vote tally will be announced after a few words by well-known party member Essam El-Erian, vice president of the FJP.
23:34 More preliminary results for those eager eyes:
Hamdeen Sabbahi finished first in Al-Semad polling station in the Red Sea governorate of Suez, earning 496 votes. Mursi follows, while Moussa trails in third.
In Al-Horreya polling station, Sabbahi also finished first, gaining 811 votes, followed by Abul Fotouh and Moussa.
23:18 Dozens of polling stations across the country have begun to submit their results to their district's general electoral committee. As the results begin to trickle in, it is too early to make any sweeping conclusions, however Brotherhood candidate Mursi appears to have a slight lead over rivals Abul-Fotouh, Shafiq, Moussa and Sabbahi.
Al Jazeera Mubashir reports that Shafiq leads in two polling stations in the Upper Egyptian governorate of Sohag, while Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website reports that Mursi is leading in two polling stations in the governorates of Beheira and Sohag.
Former regime figures and the Brotherhood aren't the only ones with cause for cheer. Our correspondent Lina El-Wardani, reporting from Alexandria, reports that Nasserist candidate Sabbahi has a substantial lead in two polling stations.
23:12 Voter turnout in the Delta governorate of Gharbiya reached 40 per cent in the two-day electoral process, El-Sayed Abdel-Moati, the governorate's secretary-general stated Thursday evening.
Boasting 2.9 million registered voters, Gharbiya is one of Egypt's larger governorates.
23:09 Across Egypt's 13,000 polling stations, vote counting is underway.
Here is a quick rundown of how the counting process will proceed:
After the electoral sub-committees, which are operating out of each polling station, finish the vote count, the station's presiding judge will announce the results to a representative from each of the eleven presidential campaigns. The representative must then sign off on the final tally before the judge transmits the results to each district's general electoral committee. The aggregated results will then be sent to the Supreme Presidential Electoral Commission.
22:57 According to the Muslim Brotherhood's website, Ikhwanweb, Mohamed Mursi's campaign will hold a press conference shortly to announce preliminary results of the vote count.
22:33 The Salafist Al-Nour Party has announced that it will not recognise results coming from polling stations where vote counting was carried out in the absence of campaign representative.
The party, which officially backed presidential hopeful Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh, warned in a statement Thursday night against any manipulation of the vote count.
The statement added that the party would take all legal and "popular" (demonstrations, etc) measures to thwart any attempt to manipulate the public will.
22:19 Osman Sharnoubi, reporting from the upscale district of Zamalek in Cairo, has sent us the following update:
"The counting process is going smoothly in Zamalek's busiest polling station. Amr Moussa and Ahmed Shafiq seem to be leading so far. Islamists are way behind, including the Muslim Brotherhood."
22:07 Our correspondent Lina El-Wardani, reporting from the Ras El-Teen polling station (5,116 votes), reports that Nasserist candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi appears to be ahead in the district.
All 13,000 polling stations in Egypt are shutting their doors after two days of voting in Egypt's first genuine multi-candidate presidential elections. Earlier on Thursday, the electoral commission extended voting hours until 9pm.
While some stations have already begun counting votes, others are still waiting until all remaining voters have cast their ballots.
Military and police are on high alert to safeguard the ballot boxes throughout the counting process. The primary vote count will be performed by the electoral sub-committees inside the polling stations.
Each sub-committee will inform the candidates' campaign offices of the total number of votes cast in their favour.
|Last Updated ( Friday, 25 May 2012 )|
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