Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood Claims Victory, Shafiq Disputes
Mohammed Morsi claimed victory in Egypt’s presidential election, but whether he has actually won, and what a victory will gain him, is anyone’s guess.
Morsi, chair of the Muslim Brotherhood-backed Freedom and Justice party, said he had taken 52 percent of the vote to 48 percent for former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq, an independent with ties to ousted leader Hosni Mubarak. Shafiq disputed the claim; official numbers have not yet been released.
Al-Jazeera reporter Rawya Rageh gave Morsi’s number credence, saying, “we have seen from previous elections the [Muslim Brotherhood] have a powerful organization of representatives at polling stations and almost always their figures turn out to be accurate.”
Unofficial vote totals showed Morsi with 52 percent of the vote, but vote counting has not yet been completed in Cairo, the country’s capital and largest city.
The election comes amid a last-ditch grab for power by the Supreme Council for the Armed Forces, which has ruled Egypt since Mubarak’s ouster. The SCAF announced a series of changes to the interim constitution, granting the organization legislative and budgetary power and the power to appoint the commission that writes a permanent constitution. The Egyptian parliament was dissolved by Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court last week.
The moves by the military have raised new concerns about the direction of the Egyptian revolution. Both the military and the courts have strong ties to Mubarak and his allies, and activists have expressed concern about Egypt backsliding into authoritarianism.
In a speech from his campaign headquarters in Cairo reported by CNN, Morsi attempted to assuage fears that he will move Egypt toward Islamism.
“No one’s rights will be left out of it, and no one will dominate over the other. The strong will not oppress the weak, and the weak’s rights will not be forgotten because of irresponsibility,” Morsi said.
Shafiq’s campaign, however, issued a statement disputing Morsi’s win.
“The initial indications of the Ahmed Shafiq campaign prove beyond all doubt that he is ahead in the elections despite all the violations,” the campaign said.
Shafiq alleged ballot-stuffing and bribery by the Muslim Brotherhood in support of Morsi.
“The Muslim Brotherhood supporters offered large sums of money and food supplies to bribe voters into voting for MB’s candidate Mohammed Morsi,” Shafiq said in a statement.
Regardless of who wins, the president will be severely constrained by the actions of the military junta. The Muslim Brotherhood has already taken a defiant stance against the SCAF decree, calling it “null and unconstitutional.”
Image Credit: Open Clip Art Library
Image from http://www.openclipart.org/