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.
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 3:31 AM
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

Photogallery South Africa Bans Travelers From Ebola-stricken Countries

South Africans returning from affected West African countries will be thoroughly screened, required to fill out medical questionnaire, health minister says More

Multimedia UN Launches ‘Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years’ in Iraq

Move aims to help thousands of Iraqi religious minorities who fled their homes as Kurdish, Iraqi government forces battle Sunni insurgents More

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

IT specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about disease 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.
Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbasi
X
Scott Stearns
August 21, 2014 9:20 PM
The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid