Moral Low Ground

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Egypt’s Historic Election Headed for Runoff Between Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Mursi and Mubarak PM Ahmed Shafiq

May 25, 2012 by Brett Wilkins in Africa, Middle East with 0 Comments

For the first time in their 5,000 year history, the Egyptian people are choosing their own leader.

As nearly all polling stations across the North African nation of 81 million declare results from the first round of voting in this historic presidential election, none of the 13 candidates are anywhere near the 50% threshold necessary for an outright victory. That means there will be a runoff round, and two candidates have emerged as the clear front-runners.

The BBC reports that Mohammed Mursi, an Islamist candidate from the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, is leading with around 26% of the vote. He is closely followed by Ahmed Shafiq, who served briefly as former dictator Hosni Mubarak’s prime minister. Shafiq has around 24% of the vote.

Hamdin Sabbahi, a nationalist firebrand supported by many Egyptians who took part in the 2011 revolution that toppled longtime dictator Hosni Mubarak, finished in third place. Amr Moussa, the former Arab League president who also ran, split much of the revolutionary vote with Sabbahi.

The Mursi campaign told reporters they were confident in their candidate’s victory.

“I think we are on the verge of a new era. We trusted God, we trusted in the people, we trusted in our party,” Essam el-Erian, a Muslim Brotherhood leader, said at a press conference Thursday night.

Shafiq’s support came mainly from Egyptians afraid of a Muslim takeover and those who are tired of the unrest of recent months.

The first round of voting was overwhelmingly peaceful and fair, although turnout was relatively low at around 50% of eligible voters.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hailed Egypt’s “historic” election and said the United States looked “forward to working with Egypt’s democratically elected government.”

 

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