Egypt on Edge amid Shafik Victory Claim Anonymous Officials Say Commission Will Back Former Premier

By Youssef, Nancy A | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), June 23, 2012 | Go to article overview

Egypt on Edge amid Shafik Victory Claim Anonymous Officials Say Commission Will Back Former Premier


Youssef, Nancy A, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)


CAIRO -- Although the Muslim Brotherhood's candidate appeared to have won the Egyptian presidency numerically, there were increased rumblings Friday that the election commission, at the direction of the country's military leaders, would declare that Ahmed Shafik, a holdover from former President Hosni Mubarak's regime, had won.

Newspaper websites across Egypt cited anonymous officials as saying that the commission, which is led by a judge whom Mubarak appointed, would find that Mr. Shafik, Mubarak's last prime minister, had finished first in last weekend's voting -- perhaps by alleging that the Brotherhood had rigged the balloting in favor of its candidate, Mohammed Morsi.

Such a development would leave the United States with two unenviable choices, said Jon Alterman, a Middle East expert at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies. It could support either an anti-American, anti-Israeli but democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood president or a military council that appears to obstruct democracy but still embraces the United States and peaceful Egyptian-Israeli relations. "People are torn" over what the U.S. response should be, Mr. Alterman said.

The military council fueled speculation Friday by issuing a rare statement chastising Mr. Morsi for his declaration early this week that he'd won. It also warned that protesters who object to the election results, which could be announced as soon as today, should "behave" or face strict enforcement of the law.

Mr. Morsi and representatives of the parties whose demonstrations toppled Mubarak last year also appeared concerned by the developments. In an effort to show a united front in what has been a fractured revolutionary movement, the Muslim Brotherhood gathered 22 intellectuals and revolutionary leaders to announce that they endorsed the Brotherhood's finding that Mr. …

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