September 23, 2020

Egyptian presidential election result delayed


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The result of Egypt’s presidential election has been delayed, state television has said.

It had been due to be announced on Thursday, but the Higher Presidential Elections Commission (HPEC) says it needs more time to look into complaints presented by the candidates.

Both candidates, Mohammed Mursi and Ahmed Shafiq, say they won last weekend’s run-off vote.

Meanwhile ailing ex-President Hosni Mubarak remains in critical condition.

He is said to have had a series of strokes and to be on life-support at an army hospital in Cairo, but there has been no official word on his condition.

Earlier this month Mubarak was convicted to life in prison for his role in the death of protesters during the revolution which ousted him last February.

Since then there have been a number of reports that his health has worsened, but this appears to be the most serious deterioration so far.

However, correspondents say there will be fears that the state of Mubarak’s health could be used as a distraction, as Egypt waits for the result of the hotly disputed presidential election.

Some 400 election complaints have been filed by the two candidates, according to HPEC, and no new date has been set for the announcement of the result.

Nader Omran, a spokesman for Mr Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood, told the BBC that the result announcement should not be delayed.

“It will bring more tension to the people – they should end the story tomorrow (Thursday)”, he said.

Mr Mursi’s campaign has claimed he won the vote, but at a press conference on Wednesday evening an adviser to Mr Shafiq insisted that official results may hand Mr Shafiq victory.

Thousands of people are in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, where they have gathered to protest against the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (Scaf) – the military council that has led the country since Mubarak’s downfall last year.

The Muslim Brotherhood had called people into the square to protest against recent constitutional amendments brought in by the Scaf.

The Brotherhood say they will mount a sit-in until the official results are announced, and until the army gives up the sweeping powers it granted itself in a constitutional amendment last week, reports the BBC’s Shaimaa Khalil in Cairo.

The atmosphere in Tahrir is more street party than protest, our correspondent adds.

But the mood could change quickly, she adds.

Correspondents say Egypt appears to be in political and constitutional limbo.

In preliminary comments on the second round of the presidential election, a group of international election monitors headed by former US President Jimmy Carter voiced concerns about the “political and constitutional context” of the vote.

“I am deeply troubled by the undemocratic turn that Egypt’s transition has taken,” Mr Carter said.

On Saturday the Scaf had dissolved Egypt’s elected parliament – dominated by the Brotherhood – after a court ruling that last year’s legislative polls were unconstitutional.

Late on Sunday, hours after the polls closed in the presidential vote, the Scaf issued a constitutional declaration giving itself wide-ranging powers and limiting those of the incoming president.

The declaration effectively gave the Scaf legislative powers, control over the budget and over who writes the permanent constitution.

The Scaf’s moves were widely condemned by activists as amounting to a military coup.

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