The secretary-general of Egypt’s Presidential Elections Committee has ruled out declaring the results of the presidential run-off Thursday, as originally planned.
Chancellor Hatem Bagato said parties of both presidential candidates have logged complaints about the conduct of the vote, which he said need to be resolved.
Said Sadek, professor of political sociology at the American University in Cairo, said the country could be plunged into deeper crisis if the electoral body declares the winner of the vote as originally scheduled.
“I think there is political calculation about the timing and also there are so many contestations about what happened [during the vote],” said Sadek. “If they do announce it [Saturday or Sunday], we will have to see the reaction in the streets and what the political forces will do, and which scenario they are pushing for.”
Both presidential candidates, Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood and the establishment-backed Ahmed Shafiq, have both claimed victory in Sunday’s presidential runoff vote.
This comes as another million-man march is scheduled to begin Thursday in the Tahrir square in the capital, Cairo. Organizers say the demonstration is aimed at registering their displeasure with the military council’s continued grip on power.
The square was the scene of protests Tuesday night that brought tens of thousands of people from across the political spectrum to speak out against a declaration by Egypt's ruling generals extending their grip on power.
Sadek said the military appears to want to curtail the power of the presidency, if the Muslim Brotherhoods candidate is declared winner of the runoff vote.
"They made the constitutional proclamation to make sure that, if it’s the Muslim Brotherhood that is winning, they will contain this winning and not make it very strong…[that means] the president-elect will not be doing anything about his program…In five or six months’ time, the president will look very weak and a big failure,” said Sadek.
Analysts say Egyptians seem not overly enthused about either of the candidates. They said, once a winner is declared, there could be protests from supporters of the loser.
“Many wanted somebody outside the system of the [Hosni] Mubarak regime, but not these kinds of politicians, who have a totalitarian ideological organization that has its own agenda, and so many are scared instead of being happy that we have, for the first time, a freely elected president,” said Sadek. “They had to choose which one they dislike the least that was the choice.”