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Egypt Readies for Presidential Vote

Published: 15/06/2012 08:18:09 PM GMT
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CAIRO - Egypt's voters will head to the ballot boxes on Saturday to choose their first president after the January 25 revolution in the runoff held bet (more)

CAIRO - Egypt's voters will head to the ballot boxes on Saturday to choose their first president after the January 25 revolution in the runoff held between Muslim Brotherhood's candidate Mohamed Mursi and Ahmed Shafiq, the last prime minister of Mubarak.

“What are we supposed to do, just accept that the Mubarak era is not over, that our revolution that left over 1,000 people dead was for nothing?” asked Salem al-Gohar, a 38-year-old taxi driver in Tahrir Square, Bikya Masr website reported on Friday, June 15.

“I will not allow this to happen.”

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Starting on Saturday morning, elections will be held over two days amid wide-spread security with preparations to face positive and negative reactions to the results.

The presidential election commission declared a period of electoral silence starting from Friday 12 pm until the voting process ends. Candidates are banned from using all forms of propaganda during this period.

The commission also called upon the police and local bodies to remove all posters and banners in all governorates.

There are 351 committees and 13,097 sub-committees where 50.2 million eligible voters are expected to vote.

The elections second round follows the shocking court ruling crediting Ahmed Shafiq the right to run in this weekend's ballot.

Another ruling declared the dissolution of the lower house of Islamists-led parliament.

“I thought we were on the right path, but I guess we need more time and more effort to put pressure on the powers,” said one man in Tahrir, adding that he felt “bad for speaking out against the protesters in recent months.

“For me, I was upset because I thought the country was heading in the right direction, but now I see they were right and they knew pressure was needed,” the man added.

A first-round presidential vote last month pushed more moderate candidates out of the race and the choice now facing 50 million eligible voters reflects a society torn between desire for change after six decades of military rule and anxiety over the damage wrought on Egypt by the subsequent political chaos.

Unrest has simmered on the streets of Egypt's cities throughout the period of military rule, with opponents of the army calling for the removal of "feloul", or Mubarak-era remnants, from politics.

Voters Million March

Shocked by the court ruling allowing Shafiq to run for elections, Egypt Islamists urged voters to march in millions to the ballot boxes.

“The 51 million Egyptians who have the right to vote will protest (keeping Shafiq in the race) at the ballot box,” said Essam Al Erian, a Brotherhood official and a lawmaker in the disbanded legislature.

“I'm sure the Egyptians will support the candidate of the revolution whom Mubarak detained at the climax of the revolution,” he told Gulf News.

The Brotherhood, who controlled nearly half of the seats in the parliament, portrays Mursi as a symbol of the popular revolt that toppled Mubarak in February last year.

Following an emergency meeting late Thursday on the rulings given by the Supreme Constitutional Court, the Brotherhood said it respects the verdicts.

“The ruling means that the Exclusion Law (the ban on Mubarak-era official) is flawed,” said the group's secretary general Mahmoud Hussain.

“But it does not mean the people will vote for Shafiq. On the contrary, they will exclude him from the political life through the ballot box.”

He said that his group does not plan mass protests against the court decisions.

Salafists, who held 26 per cent of the parliamentary seats, were quick to voice anger at the rulings and renew support for Mursi.

“These (court) decisions have disappointed the Egyptians who elected the parliament, which was the first since the revolution,” said Ahmad Khalil, an MP for the Salafist Nour Party.

“I expect laws hostile to the revolution to be passed in the absence of the parliament.

“Now it is the duty of all Egyptians to prevent this by voting for Dr Mursi.”

Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net




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