U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says Egypt's military must "fulfill its promise" to turn over power to the winner of a presidential runoff vote, as the country's election commission has delayed Thursday's planned announcement of the results.
In an interview with journalist Charlie Rose broadcast Wednesday night, Clinton called the military's actions during the past week "clearly troubling."
The ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has declared an interim constitution that gives its generals and the courts final say over much domestic and foreign policy, as well as the process to create a new permanent constitution. The military has also restored elements of martial law and dismissed the Islamist-dominated parliament.
Clinton said Egypt needs an "inclusive democratic process" that respects the rights of all Egyptians.
"The military has to assume an appropriate role, which is not to try to interfere with, dominate or subvert the constitutional authority," said Clinton. "They have to get a constitution written. There's a lot of work ahead of them."
The election commission said Wednesday it needs more time to review appeals from the two presidential candidates, raising tension as allegations of fraud mounted. It said judges were still looking into some 400 complaints of alleged campaign violations and disputed vote counting submitted by Mohammed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, and his rival, former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq.
No new date to announce a winner was given.
On top of the potentially explosive election dispute looms renewed uncertainty over the latest health scare of 84-year-old former president Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted in Egypt's uprising last year and is now serving a life prison sentence. Security officials said Wednesday the ousted leader was in a coma and off life support and that his heart and other vital organs were functioning. He had been rushed to the hospital following a stroke.
There have been more complaints about the presidential runoff than any election since Mubarak's ouster. But foreign and local monitors say the violations they observed were not serious or large-scale enough to question the legality of the process.
An unofficial tally released Wednesday by a coalition of independent judges showed Morsi with 13,238,335 votes compared to 12,351,310 for Shafiq.
Aides to the Islamist Brotherhood's candidate said Morsi received 52 percent to Shafiq's 48 percent. The Shafiq camp countered that the former air force commander won with 51.5 percent of the vote.