Partial results from the first round of Egypt's presidential election indicate that in the runoff, voters will have to choose between a member of the former Mubarak regime and the Muslim Brotherhood's candidate.
Partial results from the first round of Egypt's presidential election suggest that voters will be facing a clear choice when the go to the polls to cast their ballots in a runoff next month.
With most of the votes counted from the first round of the polls held on Wednesday and Thursday, the Muslim Brotherhood claimed that its candidate, Mohamed Mursi had finished first.
However, an official from the Islamist movement said he had only taken about 25 percent of the vote, meaning Mursi would have to face the second-place candidate in the runoff. That candidate, the official said, will be Ahmed Shafiq, the last prime minister to serve under President Hosni Mubarak before he stepped down in the face of massive protests against his rule early last year. The official said Shafiq had received 23 percent of the votes.
The Muslim Brotherhood said it based its claim on results it had gained access to from about 12,800 of the roughly 13,100 polling stations.
Official results are not expected until Sunday.
Mursi received an apparent boost to his campaign later on Friday when a rival Islamist candidate, Abdel Moneim Abol Fotouh, called on voters to “confront the corrupt regime.”
While he did not directly endorse Mursi, his words clearly directed against the man who had held office under Mubarak.
The Muslim Brotherhood, which was banned during the Mubarak years, now dominates Egypt's political landscape. It already holds nearly half of the seats in parliament, becoming the largest bloc after victories in elections late last year.
The group has promised to fight corruption, but also to introduce Islamic sharia law to a greater extent, a prospect that has alarmed more moderate Muslims, secular Egyptians and the Christian minority, who all fear restrictions on civil liberties.
The presidential elections are meant to be the last step towards restoring civilian to rule to Egypt, which has been governed by a military council since Mubarak stepped down in February 2011.
pfd/sej (Reuters, AFP)