News / Middle East

Egypt Polls Close, Military Asserts Power

Egyptian elections officials count ballots at a polling center during the second day of the presidential runoff, in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, June 17, 2012.Egyptian elections officials count ballots at a polling center during the second day of the presidential runoff, in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, June 17, 2012.
x
Egyptian elections officials count ballots at a polling center during the second day of the presidential runoff, in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, June 17, 2012.
Egyptian elections officials count ballots at a polling center during the second day of the presidential runoff, in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, June 17, 2012.
TEXT SIZE - +
Elizabeth Arrott

 

CAIRO - Egyptians are awaiting the results of an election for their first post-revolution president. But shortly after the polls closed, the role of the new leader became less certain.  

 

The vote counting got underway even as the powers of the next president were thrown further into doubt. State media reported that Egypt's ruling military council has issued a constitutional declaration, believed to grant them control of legislation, the budget and the panel that will draft the new constitution. More details were expected Monday.

 

The sweeping move follows the court-ordered dissolution of parliament and comes two weeks before a deadline the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, or SCAF, had set to hand over the running of the country to a civilian leadership. 


Man-in-the-street video by Davin Hutchins and Stephanie Figgins:
 

 

 

Adding to the uncertainty was a lack of enthusiasm about the two presidential candidates, former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq and the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohammed Morsi, reflected in a low voter turnout. 

 

Voter Safinaz Hassan cast her ballot in Cairo with her two daughters. She would not reveal who she preferred, but expressed ambivalence about both. "There's nothing but these two,” she said, “May God choose the most capable one.”

 

Resignation was mixed with concern about rising tensions over the court ruling on parliament, and the SCAF's consolidation of power. The moves have sparked outrage among some of those who helped topple the Mubarak government, and who allege the military is in the final stages of implementing a “soft coup.” Meanwhile, the candidates traded accusations that the other would lead the country down a dangerous path.


(Click to view photo gallery)

x
  • Men wait to vote at a polling station in central Cairo, Egypt, June 16, 2012. (Y. Weeks/VOA)
  • A polling station in a school in central Cairo, Egypt, June 16, 2012. (Y. Weeks/VOA)
  • Veiled women wait in line to vote at a polling station in central Cairo, Egypt, June 16, 2012. (Y. Weeks/VOA)
  • Voters wait in line outside of a polling station in central Cairo, Egypt, June 16, 2012. (Y. Weeks/VOA)
  • Retired pharmacist Makhmoud Mokhtar, left, cast his vote for Ahmed Shafiq, Cairo, Egypt, June 16, 2012. (Y. Weeks/VOA)
  • Egyptians dip their index finger into ink after voting as a way to avoid voter fraud, Cairo, Egypt, June 16, 2012. (Y. Weeks/VOA)
  • An ink bottle and tissues on a table beside a poll worker. Egyptians dip their index finger into ink after voting as a way to avoid voter fraud, Cairo, Egypt, June 16, 2012. (Y. Weeks/VOA)
  • Retired pharmacist Makhmoud Mokhtar after voting in central Cairo, Egypt, June 16, 2012. (Y. Weeks/VOA)

(Click to view photo gallery)

The claims and counterclaims had voters like Tayssir Hussein el-Qaleie on edge.

 

She wished the rhetoric leading up to the election had not happened . She said it will cause the nation “to flare up.” 

 

Voting proceeded for the most part calmly, although there have been reports of heavy-handed security tactics directed at some people observing the vote. One Egyptian monitor complained of problems when Mr. Shafiq, a former Air Force commander who enjoys the support of many in the military, cast his vote on the first day of balloting Saturday.

 

He explained how security guards stopped people from voting when Mr. Shafiq entered the polling station.  He says when he complained about being blocked from going in as well, police ignored him.

 

But an official for Mr. Morsi's campaign, which claimed its candidate had a substantial lead after the first day of voting, said initial indications were that the vote was proceeding fairly.

 

Ahmed Abdel Aati said the most important guarantee of a free election was a high voter turnout.

 

Interview with Hassan Nafaa (Click to Watch)

x
Interview with Hassan Nafaai
|| 0:00:00
X
Elizabeth Arrott
June 18, 2012
Interview with Hassan Nafaa, author and political science professor at Cairo University (Click to Watch)

Interview with Hassan Nafaa (Click to Watch)

But the choice between an Islamist or a member of the old government has proven unpalatable to many. In the first round, less than half of registered voters took part, and of them, only a quarter chose either Mr. Morsi or Mr. Shafiq. Some argue a victory by either represents a reversal of the gains of the revolution last year. They urged either a boycott, or a nullification of ballots. 

 

Yet, in this heavily Islamic country with a long tradition of looking up to its military, a curious combination can be found.

 

At a polling station along the Nile in Cairo, a middle-aged women was nearly in tears as she implored God to be on Egypt's side. 

 

Soad Nasr prayed for God to improve the country - for God to make Egypt better.  She voted for Mr. Shafiq.

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid