Morsi, Shafiq campaigns both claim victory in Egypt presidency race
Tension builds as both candidates claim victory and accuse the other of dirty tricks in Egypt's controversial presidential race, whilst security source warns of unrest incited by Brotherhood if Ahmed Shafiq is declared president
, Wednesday 20 Jun 2012
People walk under giant campaign election billboards of presidential candidates former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq (R), and Mohamed Morsi, the head of the Muslim Brotherhood's political party in Cairo (Photo: Reuters)
Both presidential campaigns – those of Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi and last Mubarak-era PM Ahmed Shafiq – continue to claim victory.
Final results of Egypt's contentious presidential election will likely be announced on Saturday or Sunday, according to a Wednesday statement by the Supreme Presidential Electoral Commission. The announcement had originally been scheduled for Thursday.
According to a Shafiq campaign source, their candidate is confident that he will be named Egypt's next president, based on information received from "top state authorities."
A Morsi campaign source, for his part, pointed to an announcement by a group of reformist judges on Wednesday corroborating the Muslim Brotherhood's vote count, which put Morsi ahead by almost one million votes.
Meanwhile, a source close to Egypt's Supreme Presidential Elections Commission (SPEC) categorically denied recent allegations that close to one million ballots had been pre-marked in Morsi's favour.
"These claims have no basis in fact; this is a rumour that has been disproven by investigations," the SPEC source said. He went on to explain that the print house responsible for producing the ballots had been firmly secured by military police.
The idea that there had been enough judges to put all these pre-marked ballots in ballot boxes – while removing the exact same number of blank ballots – strained credibility, the same source added.
Meanwhile, a source close to Morsi's office said that rumours of a Shafiq victory were only "a means of exerting psychological pressure" on Morsi aimed at forcing the Brotherhood candidate to take the presidential oath of office before Egypt's High Constitutional Court (HCC). Such a move would be tantamount to the Brotherhood's recognition of the addendum to last year's Constitutional Declaration, issued earlier this week by the ruling military council granting it significant executive authority.
The same source suggested that Morsi might agree to take the oath before the HCC, despite the Muslim Brotherhood's opposition to the constitutional addendum. Morsi was mulling this option, the source said, in hopes of pre-empting an "all-out confrontation" between political forces that could have dire implications for domestic stability.
Meanwhile, security sources say they are working on a 'Plan B,' in which Shafiq would be declared president.
"We're bracing for a major wave of rioting and unrest for at least two days, which could be incited by the Muslim Brotherhood after Shafiq is announced president," the security source said.
He added that there were plans to put the country in a state of high alert, covering the capital and other major urban centres, such as Alexandria, Suez and Ismailiya. He also said that extra security measures had been put in place to protect churches, especially in light of the considerable electoral support Shafiq had received from Coptic-Christian voters.
"We anticipate all kinds of problems and are taking steps to contain them," the same source added.