CAIRO - Egypt's ruling armed forces were on alert on Sunday as fears of
violence mounted in the final hours before the state election committee
is to name the winner of last weekend's presidential election at 3 p.m.
Mohamed Morsy of the long-oppressed Muslim
Brotherhood has already claimed to be the successor to the ousted Hosni
Mubarak. Millions of his Islamist loyalists may react with fury if the
run-off goes to Ahmed Shafik, a former general and Mubarak ally.
troops were on the streets but security officials said they were ready
to respond to trouble. Government workers around Cairo's Tahrir Square,
where thousands of Muslim Brotherhood supporters had gathered, were
encouraged to go home for the day.
Armored vehicles were posted
in the capital at the election committee headquarters and the government
information office where a news conference will end an anxious week of
The result will be historic for the Middle East, but
will not end power struggles between the army, Islamists and others over
Morsy says he won the race to lead the biggest
Arab nation, even if the generals who have been in charge since Mubarak
was ousted 500 days ago are not giving up their control just yet.
Brotherhood and liberal-minded activists who galvanised the street last
year against Mubarak may react angrily if the election committee
announces the winner is instead Shafik, a former air force commander and
last prime minister of the old regime. Like Mubarak, every president
for six decades has emerged from military ranks.
and millions across the region, would see a Shafik win as a mortal blow
to last year's Arab Spring revolt, despite his assurances of also
wanting an inclusive government.
"Egypt waits for the president
and prepares for the worst," wrote Al-Masry Al-Youm daily in a
front-page headline, referring to concerns about violence erupting.
Echoing that, Al-Watan wrote: "The Brotherhood prepares the stage for
Morsy, and an intense security alert in case of a Shafik win."
new president will emerge with fewer powers than the candidates, pruned
by a first round of voting in May, had expected when the army promised
civilian rule by July 1.
"Everyone in Egypt is worried. The army
must know the result and must have taken precautions," said Ali Mahmoud,
a 44-year-old taxi driver, worried like many Egyptians that months of
turmoil is not over yet. "If Shafik wins, we will have a lot of
problems. If Morsy wins then protests should be less."
military council, which pushed Mubarak aside on Feb. 11, 2011 to
appease the protesters in the streets, has stripped the presidency of
many powers and dissolved the Brotherhood-led parliament elected in