Still Delayed: Egypt's Election Results

By: From CNN, Posted by Ralph Hipp
By: From CNN, Posted by Ralph Hipp
Two presidential contenders proclaim themselves winners in weekend election.  An electoral committee member says the results will be delayed "a day or two."  If Ahmed Shafik is "proclaimed a winner ... it

Hundreds of voters lined up Saturday, March 19, 2011 at a polling station inside Kasr el Eini el Doubara, a Cairo language school, to vote in Egypt's historic referendum on constitutional amendments. Presidential candidate and head of the Arab League Amr Moussa was among the voters here.


CAIRO, Egypt (CNN) -- Egypt's Presidential Election Commission has delayed, from Thursday until a date to be announced, the release of the results of Egypt's presidential election, state-run Nile TV reported Wednesday.

"The committee has not completed the verification of a total of 400 electoral violation reports submitted by the two presidential candidates," said Tarek Shibl, a senior member of electoral committee. "Most probably the announcement of the election results will be delayed a day or two but nothing is final yet."

Earlier Wednesday, the former ruler, ousted Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak, was removed from life-support equipment, his health improved a day after a state-run news agency reported that he was "clinically dead," his attorney said.

"The hospital will issue a statement shortly about his official medical status to curb the rumors and confusion from last night about his death reported by irresponsible media that has driven the country into a state of madness," Farid El Deeb, Mubarak's attorney, said Wednesday.

The official Middle East News Agency reported late Tuesday that Mubarak was clinically dead; the nation's military rulers denied it.

"He is not clinically dead as reported, but his health is deteriorating and he is in critical condition," said Gen. Mamdouh Shahin, a member of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. Nile TV issued a similar report Wednesday.

Mubarak, 84, was reported to have been taken Tuesday to a military hospital in Cairo after suffering a stroke in prison. But reports of Mubarak's failing health have taken a back seat to the political and constitutional turmoil in the country.

The results of last weekend's runoff between Ahmed Shafik, the last prime minister to serve under Mubarak, and Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, remain uncertain.

"It's all in the hands" of election officials and not the military council," said SCAF spokesman Lt. Col. Mohamed Askar.

Shafik and Mosri each proclaimed himself winner in the race to succeed Mubarak 16 months after a popular uprising ended his three-decade rule.

Thousands of Egyptians gathered Tuesday night in Cairo's Tahrir Square -- the birthplace of the anti-Mubarak ferment -- to show their support for their preferred candidate. Each side in the election has accused the other of voting irregularities and called for an investigation.

Judges for Egypt, an independent group citing unofficial projections, told reporters Wednesday that Morsi had won. Mahmoud Ghozlan, a Muslim Brotherhood spokesman, said that if Shafik is "proclaimed a winner tomorrow, then it's sheer forgery."

Observers have been questioning how much authority the president -- whoever he turns out to be -- will have given that SCAF last week stripped the position of much of its power.

"I'm uncertain where we are going," Salma Othman, a 32-year-old Cairo real estate agent, told CNN. "Why are we electing a president if SCAF is issuing a constitutional decree limiting the powers of the president?"

"Nothing's changed, everyone's negative," said Massa el Gamal, an 18-year-old Cairo student.

"I would hope that the new president would bring the people together, but what's happening now is that they are driving people against each other. Don't they know that they will be president of all Egyptians? By the way, I didn't vote because I'm not convinced with either candidate," she said.

Hani Abou Gabal, a 42-year-old public relations manager, said the military rulers were doing all they could to "not give up the country to the Muslim Brotherhood."

"I hope it will be the liberal who wins -- I mean Shafik -- and I think there will be some blood before it calms down," he said. "Egypt will stabilize -- only by force. Force is the only way to deal with Egyptian mentality."

Shafik is also the favorite for Magda Abdel-Fattah, a 57-year-old human resources manager, because she doesn't want her "civilization" and "culture erased."

"In all cases, it will be chaotic," she said. "In my view, the mob are the ones in the street today (protesting). The cultured revolutionaries are home are in their homes."

Military rulers dissolved the lower house of parliament last week, extending their power and sparking accusations of a coup.

The military council announced it had full legislative authority. The Muslim Brotherhood, the country's largest Islamist group, was the dominant party in the parliament.

Under an interim constitutional declaration released Monday, the military council retains the power to make laws and budget decisions until a new constitution is written and a new parliament elected. The declaration says Supreme Council members "shall decide all matters related to military affairs, including the appointment of its leaders." The president has the power to declare war, it says, but only "after the approval" of the Supreme Council.

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, whose Carter Center observed the elections, which issued preliminary findings about the runoff -- said Tuesday that he was "deeply troubled by the undemocratic turn" in Egypt's transition.

"The dissolution of the democratically elected parliament and the return of elements of martial law generated uncertainty about the constitutional process before the election," he said in a written statement. "The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces' new Constitutional Declaration, in which they carve out special privileges for the military and inject themselves into the constitution drafting process, violates their prior commitment to the Egyptian people to make a full transfer of power to an elected civilian government."

More than 800 people died and 6,000 were wounded during the uprising that ended Mubarak's 29-year rule in February 2011.

The ex-president and his former interior minister, Habib al-Adly, were convicted of ordering security forces to kill anti-government protesters and this month were given life terms.

But other top aides -- as well as Mubarak's two sons, who had been tried on corruption charges -- were acquitted.

Mubarak became president after the in October 1981 assassination of his predecessor, Anwar Sadat. Mubarak ruled Egypt with an iron hand and as a staunch ally of the United States, which gives the nation $1.3 billion a year in military aid.

Prior to his sentencing, Mubarak was already suffering from health problems; he attended court on a gurney.

Citizens were cynical or fatalistic about the Mubarak health scare Tuesday.

Othman, the Cairo real estate agent, referred to the health scare as a "dishonest staged play." She said she thinks rumors have been spread "to divert attention from election results." El Gamal, the Cairo student, said she believes the latest accounts about Mubarak's health were staged to evoke "sympathy from the street."

Whatever happens to Mubarak in the short term, he is "finished," Abdel-Fattah said. "Mubarak died a year and half ago as far as I'm concerned," the human resources manager said.


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