Egypt election outlook bleak: Fraud allegations mar polls

Preliminary results of Egypt’s presidential race have left the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate and an ex-military PM set to duke it out in an upcoming run-off vote. But the losing candidates are crying foul amid claims of mass election violations.

Leftist candidate Hamdeen Sabahi, who narrowly missed qualifying for June’s run-off vote, has called for the elections to be suspended over multiple irregularities and doubts over frontrunner Ahmed Shafiq’s right to stand.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate Mohammed Morsi and former PM Ahmad Shafiq currently top the ballots according to preliminary results of the first round of voting. The official results will be issued on Thursday.

Sabahi will lodge an appeal for the prosecutor-general to investigate allegations by a police officer that the interior ministry has handed over 900,000 votes to Shafiq. He has also demanded that constitutional court rule on the validity of the electoral committee’s decision to ban Shafiq from the presidential race in April.

The committee reversed their disqualification of ex-minister Shafiq shortly after the ruling, but instated a law barring Mubarak’s officials from the presidential elections.

"We will present an appeal on behalf of candidate Hamdeen Sabahi … to the presidential electoral committee, citing a series of irregularities … that have affected the outcome of the first round,
" Sabahi’s lawyer, Essam El-Islamboly told the Reuters news agency.

The US-based Carter center had over 100 monitors stationed through Egypt observing the election process. But, the group says its observers were only given permits a week before the elections which "severely undermines the overall transparency of the election results."

The June face-off between the Muslim Brotherhood and ex-PM Shafiq has left Egyptian voters doubtful over their country’s future and the survival of the revolution.

A win for Shariq could potentially trigger chaos in the country, reigniting the uprisings that ousted Mubarak. However, a win for the Brotherhood would bring Egypt under the control of hardline Islamic rule, putting personal freedoms at risk.


Revolution on the ropes

The lack of a moderate candidate has seen Egyptian voters caught between a rock and a hard place. Both Morsi and Shafiq have championed the values of the Egyptian revolution in a bid to win public support on Saturday. Shafiq said that if elected, he would check the growing influence of the Islamists and continue the road to democracy, while Morsi said that Shafiq would recreate Mubarak’s regime.

“The whole nation now supports Mohammed Morsi, not for him personally, but because he is the candidate of new Egypt, the candidate of the revolution, which will make sure we get rid of the remnants of the regime and prevent the country from moving backwards,” said Saad Al-Hoseiny, Muslim Brotherhood member to RT’s Paula Slier.

In addition, doubts have been voiced over the military government pledge to hand over control to the country’s new ruler, with many fearing they will carry on pulling political strings from behind the scenes.

Dr Hassan el Sayed, professor of political science at Cairo University, said the consequences will be dire if the military government clings to power.

“A military coup has to be excluded and if it is done it will be very, very violent and there will be a lot of bloodshed and I think the army is very much aware of this,”
he told RT.

The country’s military rulers have resolved to hand over power on July1 and are currently working on a new constitution. But political foot-dragging has left the constitution undefined, leaving the ultimate winner of the presidential poll without a clear idea of his powers of those of the future government.