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Egypt elections

Egypt is awaiting the delayed results of the presidential run-off election held last weekend.

The results are due in the coming hours, after the election commission heard appeals by the two candidates.

Mohammed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood and former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq have both claimed victory and vowed to form unity governments.

Thousands of their supporters spent the night in the centre of Cairo amid increasing political polarization.

Correspondents say the atmosphere has been peaceful, but tense.

Many people are still apprehensive about the intentions of the ruling generals, who gave themselves sweeping new powers last week after the Supreme Constitutional Court ruled that the Islamist-dominated parliament should be dissolved.

On Friday, the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) called on supporters of both candidates to accept the result when it came.

Results from last weekend’s run-off were originally due out on Thursday.

The Higher Presidential Election Commission (HPEC) has said that it will announce the official results at 15:00 local time (13:00 GMT) on Sunday.

Muslim Brotherhood supporters are maintaining a vigil in the capital’s Tahrir Square, where on Friday tens of thousands of protesters gathered to denounce a series of decrees and appointments by the SCAF designed to reduce or constrain the power of the president, and entrench the power of the military.

Egypt is awaiting the delayed results of the presidential run-off election held last weekend

Egypt is awaiting the delayed results of the presidential run-off election held last weekend

On 13 June, the military-controlled government gave soldiers the right to arrest civilians for trial in military courts until the ratification of a new constitution.

Four days later, just as the polls were closing in the presidential run-off, the generals issued an interim constitutional declaration that granted them all legislative powers and reinforced their role in the drafting of a permanent constitution. The document also exempted the military from civilian oversight.

Then on Monday, the head of the SCAF, Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, announced the re-establishment of a National Defence Council, putting the generals in charge of Egypt’s national security policy.

Islamists, liberals and secularists said the moves amounted to a coup.

“The military must leave its political role and go back to its basic role which is protecting the country, not continuing to ruin the country and people’s affairs – this will not be accepted by the Egyptian people,” Abdel Nasser Hijab, a demonstrator in Tahrir Square, told the Associated Press.

There are fears that in the current atmosphere, the announcement of the presidential election results might only make matters worse.

A pro-Ahmed Shafiq demonstration took place on Saturday in the Nasser City neighborhood of Cairo.

“When we decided to take to the streets, we’re not just one, two or three million, we’re 80 million. The only difference is that we’re waiting for the military council to give its final word,” one Shafiq supporter, Doaa, told the Reuters news agency.

Hundreds of supporters held up pictures of Ahmed Shafiq and Field Marshal Tantawi while chanting slogans in support of the army and against the Brotherhood.

Correspondents say that there was less enthusiasm in the run-off election than there was for previous rounds of voting, and some called for a boycott or spoiled ballots.

On Tuesday, the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party announced that Mohammed Mursi, its chairman, had won with 51.74% of the vote, citing official figures from the HPEC.

Mohammed Mursi has also secured the support of several leading liberal figures and youth activists in Egypt, including Wael Ghonim, who played a key role in the uprising that forced Hosni Mubarak to step down in February 2011.

Ahmed Shafiq came second to Mohammed Mursi in last month’s first round, in which turnout among the 52 million eligible voters was only 46%.

But the former air force commander, who served briefly as former President Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister, said on Thursday at his first public appearance since the run-off that he was confident of victory.


President Barack Obama’s Facebook page has been swamped with comments from supporters of Hazem Abu Ismail, a candidate in Egypt’s presidential election.

It follows news that Hazem Abu Ismail may be barred from the poll because one of his parents held dual nationality.

Egypt’s electoral commission has said Hazem Abu Ismail’s late mother became a naturalized US citizen in October 2006.

But his supporters are calling on President Barack Obama to support their claim that the immigration paperwork is fraudulent.

Many of the postings are in Arabic, but one comment – posted by several users – said in English: “His mother was a scholar in America, she got American Green Card, but American Authorities are trying to fraud that she was an American citizen.”

Another user asked: “If the US administration has official documents, why not display them?”

Barack Obama's Facebook page has been swamped with comments from supporters of Hazem Abu Ismail, a candidate in Egypt's presidential election

Barack Obama's Facebook page has been swamped with comments from supporters of Hazem Abu Ismail, a candidate in Egypt's presidential election

Egypt’s presidential election rules say that all candidates must have been born in Egypt to Egyptian parents who have never held citizenship of another country, are not dual nationals, and are not married to a foreigner.

The head of the Higher Presidential Election Commission (HPEC), Hatem Bajatu, said on Thursday that it had received information that Hazem Abu Ismail’s mother had “used an American passport for travel to and from Egypt” before her death and that it would notify the Salafist preacher.

Hazem Abu Ismail – who is running on an ultra-conservative, nationalist and anti-foreign intervention platform – subsequently told his supporters that the allegations were a “plot” against him.

He said he had documents to prove his case and had hired American lawyers to help him.

The HPEC has said candidacy papers would be examined later this week, after which those who did not meet the requirements would be informed and allowed to appeal.

A final list of eligible candidates will be announced on 26 April.

The White House has not commented on the matter, but tens of thousands of angry messages from Hazem Abu Ismail’s supporters have been added to President Obama’s re-election campaign Facebook page.

They are attached to unrelated timeline updates posted in the president’s name including a video of the popstar Janelle Monae – a Barack Obama supporter – and a music playlist for his supporters.

The sheer number of posts are – at least temporarily – preventing the Facebook “Wall” being used as a forum to generate support for Barack Obama ahead of the US presidential vote on 6 November.

The Next Web news site notes that this is not the first time that one of the president’s social media profiles has been “flooded with comments from another country”.

It says Chinese citizens began posting comments to his Google+ page after the network was unblocked in China in February.

This has continued ever since, with some recent posts attracting roughly as many Chinese language comments as English ones.

It prompted one user to write: “Dear Chinese mainlanders spammers. Please respect the President of the United States of America and quit spamming his post!”