Egyptians headed to the polls last Saturday in a two-day run-off election to determine their next freely elected president. But this election has not come without its fair share of controversy.
On Friday, Egypt's military rulers consolidated power by ordering the shut-down of the Islamist-led Parliament based on a court ruling from the day before, locking out lawmakers, and seizing the right to issue laws (even after a new president takes office). The military's move represents a setback on Egypt's path to democracy and almost certainly means that the military will not cede power to a civilian government within the next month, as it had originally promised.
Many Egyptians have called the military's latest power grab a "coup." On Thursday, the Egyptian high court had issued an order to dissolve Parliament, claiming that political parties had wrongly been allowed to compete for the one-third of seats designated for individual candidates. The court's decision is viewed by some as an attempt to undercut the Muslim Brotherhood's power. After performing well in the first round of Egypt's elections last month, the Brotherhood has been drawing up plans to revise the Constitution, and appeared likely to win the presidency as well.
All that may change now, however, as Mohammed Morsi, head of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, faces off against Ahmed Shafiq, a former air force general and Hosni Mubarak's last prime minister. With a parliament that has been dissolved by the military, the winner of this weekend's presidential run-off will take office without the oversight of a sitting parliament, and without a permanent constitution to define his powers or duties. Both the Brotherhood and Shafiq have claimed that they will win the presidency, while a significant movement has pledged to either boycott the vote or void their ballots in protest.
The Brotherhood has warned that Egypt is facing a situation that is "even more dangerous than that in the final days of Mubarak's rule."
Polling stations open on Saturday and Sunday at 08:00 a.m. and close at 20:00 p.m., but voting is likely to be extended on both days. Final results are expected from the Higher Presidential Election Commission (HPEC) by 21 June, but are expected to arrive much earlier.
PolicyMic will be following the results of the election live. For real-time updates (in EST), refresh this page.
6/24, 10:32 AM: Detailed election results:
6/24, 8:20 AM Election results expected any minute now.
6/18, 4:32 PM: Adding to the lack of clarity caused by the SCAF's release of a constitutional declaration that significantly limits the power of the presidency, Sameh Ashour, head of the advisory council to the SCAF, has said: "The upcoming president will occupy the office for a short period of time, whether or not he agrees. This is simply because a new constitution will be drafted, followed by new parliamentary elections to take on the legislative power; and therefore, it is not possible in any event for the president to remain in office after a new constitution comes to the light." (via Al-Jazeera)
6/17, 10:45 PM: Commenting on Morsi's victory claim, Shafiq's spokesman calls the claim "absurd" and a "pathetic media manipulation."
6/17, 3:49 PM: Another polling station in Sohag has also released its counted results early, noting that Morsi received 831 votes to Shafiq's 136 votes. One station in Cairo also started counting its votes early despite the fact that some voters were still submitting ballots at the same station. According to reports, a number of other polling stations across the country have not waited for the closing time and have begun counting and releasing final and official results. (via Al-Masry Al-Youm)
6/17, 2:23 PM: The Interior Ministry has allegedly located those responsible for distributing the pens with ink that disappears in three hours and they will be arrested shortly. According to the source, 180,000 pens were imported to Egypt to be given to voters.
The contrast between Shafik and Morsi, who spent two hours waiting in line in the Egyptian heat to cast his ballot, highlights how Morsi has assumed the mantle of the “revolutionary” candidate. Yet the fact that the uncharismatic, long-time leading figure of the Muslim Brotherhood is the revolutionary choice demonstrates how weakened the revolution has become. Many of the young activists and secular liberals who formed the core of last year’s revolution are so disillusioned that they have called for boycotts of the election. Whether these boycotts will galvanize the nation to protest the recent developments or merely allow Mr. Shafik to more easily claim victory remains to be seen."
6/17, 11:30 AM: Farouk Sultan, head of the SPEC, has announced that security forces have arrested someone who was helping voters cast their ballots outside of a polling station in Mansheyet Nasser. Sultan also added that this individual had a laptop and CD containing materials to incite the public to protest outside of the presidential palace and calling for acts of violence in case Shafiq wins the election.
6/17, 8:10 AM:
6/17, 7:30 AM: More electoral violations have been noted. An Ahram Online reporter saw cars using loudspeakers to convince voters to pick Shafiq in Sharqiya, warning that if they do not do so, "they will pay a fine of LE100." Muslim Brotherhood monitors also claimed to see a polling employee voting on behalf of constituents in Fayoum.
6/17, 6:08 AM: Egypt Independent has reported that several clashes have taken place today between Shafiq and Morsi supporters in Giza's Haram district, Beheira, Minya, and Qalyubiya, among other locations.
6/17, 3:01 AM: Commenting on yesterday's events, the National Council for Human Rights noted that they received 77 election-related complaints, 66 of which were forwarded on to the Presidential Elections Commission for further investigation.
6/16, 5:00 PM: According to reports by prominent media sources, including Ahram Online, The New York Times, AP, Al-Jazeera, and Voice of America, voter turnout across the nation was at best, mixed, and by most accounts, low, especially compared to the last round of presidential elections. Although districts known to be strongholds for either candidate witnessed lengthy lines at certain points of the day, general turnout appeared light. No official turnout rates were available.
6/16, 1:32 PM: "Batil" ("Invalid") sticker on voting ballot. The stickers were distributed earlier by the "Mobteloon" campaign which encourages voters to void their votes in protest at the choices available to them.
6/16, 8:43 AM: Photo of presidential candidate Morsi voting. (via Getty Images)
6/16, 2:56 AM: A tweet depicting a lack of satisfaction with the voting choices on the ballot.
6/16, 2:43 AM: According to Al-Masry Al-Youm, there are 13,101 subsidary voting centers nationwide, 351 general voting committees (for observation), and 9,339 voting centers. 14,509 judges are observing the elections (1,200 female judges and other female Ministry of Justice employees are present to check the identities of women wearing the niqab).
6/16, 2:04 AM: Lines are already getting long as polling stations only start to open. Al-Jazeera covers various polling stations in Cairo, Shobra, and Tanta (photo below via FJparty).
This is simply because a new constitution will be drafted, followed by new parliamentary elections to take on the legislative power; and therefore it is not possible in any event for the president to remain in office after a new constitution comes to the light."