Egypt's results due tomorrow

 

Egyptians will find out tomorrow whether their next president will be a former military officer or an Islamist from the army's old adversary, the Muslim Brotherhood.

Impatient Brotherhood supporters have protested in Cairo's Tahrir Square since a call in midweek from their leaders to demand the current ruling generals cancel measures they say are designed to hem in the powers of the man they believe was elected last weekend, Islamist Mohamed Morsy.

Hundreds were there again today, chanting "Victory for Morsy!" and "Morsy, Morsy, Allahu akbar!" (God is greatest), before officials finally set a time for announcing the result.

The election committee will do so at news conference at 1pm (Irish time), committee official Hatem Bagato said today, after run-off voting was held on June 16th and 17th.

The party atmosphere in the square anticipated what could be one of the most dramatic turns of events in the Middle East in decades - the emergence of an Islamist president of the most populous Arab nation.

(Video from Tahrir Square reportedly taken today).

A delay in announcing the result, initially scheduled for Thursday, was explained by officials as required to deal with appeals over local voting irregularities.

But it has prompted Brotherhood concern that the military-led "deep state", left over when Hosni Mubarak was toppled last year, was trying to steal their victory, just as it routinely rigged votes in the past.

A win for Mr Morsy would create a dramatic new configuration for Egypt's politics.

Supporters of religious rule will be delighted but others, including many who fought on Tahrir Square to end dictatorship, will be anxious at what it means for minorities, women, secular values and Egypt's dealings with the West.

Reformist politician Mohamed El Baradei said he had been in contact with the military and Mr Morsy's camp to avoid a showdown, but said he was worried if former premier, Ahmed Shafik were declared winner "we are in for a lot of instability and violence ... a major uprising."

His comments were carried by the CNN website. Violence by hardline Islamists in Tunisia, whose revolt inspired that in Egypt, has troubled many Egyptian liberals.

Today, a group of liberal and leftist groups announced the formation of an alternative "civil front", seeking support from those wanting neither military nor religious rule.

"Those who are attacking the military council, have allied with it when their interests were in line," said Ahmed Said, head of the liberal Free Egyptians Party, noting links between the Muslim Brotherhood and ruling generals in the past year.

Reuters