Tensions mounted in Egypt Thursday as the state election committee announced it was not ready to announce a winner in the presidential election.
The committee cited allegations of fraud as a reason it was delaying the announcement of a winner in the run-off election between Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood-backed Freedom and Justice Party, and independent candidate and former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq, who served under ousted leader Hosni Mubarak.
The announcement of a winner had been planned for Thursday.
“We are taking our time to review the appeals to investigate them properly but, God willing, the results will be announced by Sunday at most, if not before that,” Judge Maher el-Beheiry, a member of the election committee, told Reuters in an interview.
Hatem Begato, the leader of the committee, told state media that he expected results to be announced during the upcoming weekend.
The delay sparked fears of vote-rigging by the ruling military junta, which recently expanded its own powers and announced changes to the interim constitution. The move came in the wake of the dissolution of the Muslim Brotherhood-led parliament by the Supreme Constitutional Court.
Members of the Muslim Brotherhood threatened to take to the streets if Morsi, who has claimed victory, is denied the presidency.
“There is absolutely no justification for the result of the vote to be delayed,” Muslim Brotherhood leader Essam el-Erian told Al-Jazeera on Wednesday.
El-Erian said that Shafiq’s allegations of vote-rigging were without merit.
Ahmed Maher of the April 6 youth protest movement warned of trouble if Shafiq ended up being declared the winner.
“Any attempt to impose Shafik, any attempt at manipulation by the military council to impose him on us, will take Egypt into a period of instability and tension,” he told Reuters.
It remains to be seen what will happen with Egypt’s government going forward. Hosni Mubarak was ousted after street protests last year, and the military had taken control as the country began a transition toward democracy. The military has been criticized, however, for an inconstant commitment to democratic principles, and for being controlled by former Mubarak loyalists.
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