Egypt on Monday released its official first-round presidential election results, confirming expectations that next month’s run-off will pit a former regime stalwart against a contender from the once-banned Muslim Brotherhood.
The committee confirmed that the Brotherhood’s Mohamed Mursi and ex-air force chief Ahmed Shafiq had proceeded to the second round of Egypt’s first genuinely contested presidential vote in six decades.
Mursi topped the poll with 24.3 percent of the votes, followed by Shafiq with 23.3%. Turnout was 46%.
“Organization matters,” Samuel Tadros, an Egypt expert at Washington’s Hudson Institute, told The Jerusalem Post. “The Muslim Brotherhood machine is unparalleled, but Shafiq has built an impressive organization of dedicated young men.”
Tadros said it remains too early to predict results for the June 16-17 runoff. “Do Salafis mobilize? Do non-Islamists rally around Shafiq due to fear of complete Muslim Brotherhood domination? Does the Brotherhood attempt, as it seems it is, to turn this into Islam versus Christians and seculars?” “We will see in the coming days,” he said.
Given Egypt’s current political and economic instability, Tadros continued, Shafiq’s reputation as a “remnant” of the ousted Hosni Mubarak regime could prove more of an asset than a liability. “If he is portrayed as [a] candidate against Islam, he loses, but being portrayed as old regime does not hurt – it helps.”
About half of the firstround votes went to neither of the two frontrunners: leftist firebrand Hamdeen Sabahy took third place with 20.4%, independent Islamist Abdel Moneim Abol Fotouh earned 17.2% and former Arab League chief Amr Moussa came in fifth with 10.9%.
The three filed complaints about the voting, but all were rejected by the six judges forming the electoral committee.