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Brotherhood in Egypt lead?

May 25, 2012

The powerful Muslim Brotherhood has claimed the lead in Egypt's landmark presidential elections. Official results are likely to be announced on Sunday.

Flyer showing Mohammed Mursi, the Muslim Brotherhood's candidate.
Image: Reuters

Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood on Friday claimed that its candidate, Mohammed  Mursi, would enter a runoff vote next month with Ahmed Shafiq, the last prime minister to serve under ousted president Hosni Mubarak.

The Muslim Brotherhood based its claim on alleged results from about 12,800 of the roughly 13,100 polling stations.

An official from the Islamist group said Mursi had taken about 25 percent of the vote, followed by Shafiq on 23 percent.

Official results from Egypt's electoral body are not expected until Sunday.

Political dominance

The Brotherhood, which was repressed under former President Hosni Mubarak, now dominates Egypt's political landscape.  It already holds nearly half of parliament, becoming the largest bloc after victories in elections late last year.

Egyptian presidential vote held

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. 

Fifty million eligible voters were given the chance on Wednesday and Thursday to choose between 12 candidates in the first elections since Mubarak was ousted in a popular uprising in February last year.

Elections during the 30 years of Mubarak's rule were often seen as rigged in his favor, but during this week's elections international monitors said they did not observe any major abuses in the voting procedure.

Electoral officials estimated turnout at around 50 percent.

The Egyptian electoral system requires a runoff if no candidate receives an outright majority of more than 50 percent. The second round, which seems likely, is scheduled to take place on June 16 and 17.

tj/ng (Reuters, AFP)