Monday, May 28, 2012

Political Coalitions Being Negotiated In Egypt

Coalitions in Egypt?

Monday, 28 May 2012 00:00

CAIRO. — Egypt’s presidential election front-runners were vying for deals with rival candidates yesterday in a bid to appease a polarised nation that will choose between an Islamist and a Mubarak-era minister in a June runoff.

Final votes were still being counted, but unofficial results suggested that the top two candidates were the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Mursi and Ahmed Shafiq, a former premier under ousted president Hosni Mubarak.

Middle ground votes were up for grabs, with both candidates since Saturday shuttling between meetings with different political forces, as they compete for the mantle of the revolution that ousted long-time president Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

“The race for the coalitions has begun,” read the headline of the state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper.

Yesterday, share prices on the Egypt Exchange declined 3,49 percent with the main EGX-30 index slipping to 4,789.14 points.

“The first results of the presidential election have added to the political nervousness and uncertainty for the future,” financial analyst Mostafa Saad said.

The Brotherhood called a meeting of various candidates on Saturday afternoon, but the campaigns of Abul Fotouh, former foreign minister Amr Mussa and Nasserist candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi said the three would not attend.

According to a tally by the Islamist group, Mursi had won 25,3 percent of the vote and Shafiq 24 percent, with Sabbahi at 22 percent.

Sabbahi said he would refuse any offer to become vice president, and said he would file a complaint over electoral irregularities that may affect the result of the first round.

On Saturday, Mursi appealed to Egyptians to pursue the goals of the revolution, a day after his movement said the nation was “in danger.”

He said he was confident the results of the June 16-17 runoff “will serve the revolution and the interests of the Egyptian people.”

He also sought to reassure secularists and the country’s Coptic Christian community which makes up around 10 percent of the 82 million population.

“As president, I will be the president for all Egyptians. (My relationship) with the Brotherhood will be the same as all Egyptians,” he said.

On Friday night, the Brotherhood said it was seeking to create a coalition of forces to challenge Shafiq.

“We call on all sincere political and national forces to unite to protect the revolution and to achieve the pledges we took before our great nation,” it said.

Shafiq also called for broad support from former rivals, calling on his competitors by name to join him and promising there would be no return to the old regime.

“I reach out to all the partners and I pledge that we would all work together for the good of Egypt,” he told a news conference.

Addressing young people who spearheaded the 2011 revolt, he said: “Your revolution has been hijacked and I am committed to bringing (it) back. I pledge now, to all Egyptians, we shall start a new era. There is no going back.”

As the top two candidates worked to rally support for the runoff, leftist candidate Sabbahi, who came third, said he was to file a complaint over alleged voting irregularities in the first round.

“We will file appeals and we will then determine whether or not we accept the results,” Sabbahi said. A Shafiq-Mursi run-off looks likely to further polarise a nation that rose up against the authoritarian Mubarak 15 months ago. — AFP.

1 comment:

Pan-African News Wire said...

Egyptian candidates claim vote fraud May 28, 2012 - 4:54PM

Read later.AP

Three top candidates in Egypt's presidential race have filed appeals to the election commission, alleging violations in the first-round vote that they say could change the outcome.

The appeals, alleging fraud, were filed ahead of a Sunday deadline. They are likely to inflame an already explosive race, with two of the most polarising candidates as the front-runners.

Preliminary results from last week's election placed Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi and Hosni Mubarak's last prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq, as the two candidates entering a June 16-17 run-off. Thirteen candidates were on the ballot.

Advertisement: Story continues below Young, liberal secularists who led the popular rebellion that overthrew longtime leader Mubarak last year failed to place a candidate in the run-off.

A large portion of the vote - more than 40 per cent - went to candidates who were seen as more in the spirit of the uprising - neither for the Brotherhood nor for the so-called "feloul", or "remnants", of the old autocratic regime. The so-called revolutionary votes were mostly divided among the candidates who placed third and fourth.

The top finisher, the Brotherhood's Morsi, received only about 25 per cent of the vote, according to preliminary results.

Influential Egyptian-born Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, widely respected throughout the Middle East, urged voters to support Morsi in the run-off.

Speaking on the Arabic satellite channel Al-Jazeera on Sunday evening, he said the race was not between an Islamist and a non-Islamist but between "the revolution and the enemies of the revolution".

Shafiq, who placed second after Morsi, filed an appeal to the election commission, saying votes cast for him in one province were not included in the ballot count.

Hamdeen Sabahi, a socialist and a champion of the poor who made a surprisingly strong showing, called for a partial vote recount after he placed third by a margin of about 700,000 votes after Shafiq.

Sabahi's campaign said in a statement on Sunday that its representatives had met with the elections commission to request that official results not be announced until the eligibility of voters in five provinces was reviewed.

Official first-round results are expected on Monday or Tuesday.

"The difference between votes for us and votes cast for some of the other candidates is that ours are legitimate," Sabahi told reporters on Saturday.

Abdel-Moneim Abolfotoh, a moderate Islamist who finished fourth, filed his appeal on Sunday and also called for official results to be delayed. His lawyer said the campaign had proof that votes were cast on behalf of dead people and in other cases bribes were paid for votes.