CAIRO - Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood called Egyptian political forces on Friday, May 25, to talks on ways to "save" the revolution ahead of a presidential election run-off it says will pit its candidate against Ahmed Shafiq, Hosni Mubarak's last prime minister.
We have to cooperate to build our country, said Essam el-Erian, the deputy head of the Brotherhood's political party in a news conference on Friday night.
Mohamed Mursi, the Brotherhood's presidential candidate, has contacted other presidential candidates and party leaders and invited them to a meeting on Saturday.
Egypt started counting votes late Thursday after a two-day election to choose a new president to replace autocratic leader Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted in a popular revolt last year.
Counting started after polls closed at 9 p.m. (1900 GMT) with no reliable exit polls available, Reuters reported.
Counting the votes, the Muslim Brotherhood said its candidate in Egypt's first free presidential vote would go through a run-off next month against Shafiq.
Though the final results will only be confirmed officially next Tuesday, representatives of the candidates were allowed to watch the count, enabling them to compile their own tally.
The run-off is planned for June 16 and 17.
The election marks a crucial step in a messy and often bloody transition to democracy, overseen by a military council that has pledged to hand power to a new president by July 1.
The Brotherhood candidate received an apparent boost to his campaign later on Friday when a rival Islamist candidate, Abdel Moneim Abol Fotouh, called on voters to confront the corrupt regime.
While he did not directly endorse Mursi, his words clearly directed against Shafiq who had held office under Mubarak.
"We will build a national revolutionary consensus on all the current political issues and form a single front against the symbols of corruption, injustice and tyranny," he said in a statement quoted by Agence France Presse (AFP).
"Our revolution will be victorious and Egypt will be strong, God willing."
The Muslim Brotherhood, which was banned during the Mubarak years, now dominates Egypt's political landscape.
It already holds nearly half of the seats in parliament, becoming the largest bloc after victories in elections late last year.
The group has promised to fight corruption, but also to introduce Islamic Shari`ah law to a greater extent.
The presidential elections are meant to be the last step towards restoring civilian to rule to Egypt, which has been governed by a military council since Mubarak stepped down in February 2011.