Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood warns of military power grab
The Muslim Brotherhood claimed yesterday that Egypt's ruling military officers might be preparing to steal the presidency, warning there would be a "confrontation" if their candidate was not confirmed as winner today.
The Presidential Election Commission is due to announce formally the result of last weekend's election, the first free vote for a leader in Egypt's history.
The Brotherhood and most newspapers and independent panels say that Mohammed Morsi, the leader of the Brotherhood's political front, the Freedom and Justice Party, won by a slim margin of about 52pc to 48pc.
His opponent, Ahmed Shafiq, a general like the members of the ruling Supreme Military Council of the Armed Forces, claims that he will be announced victorious, prompting speculation that the army is preparing for a new "power grab".
"If Shafiq is declared the winner, this will make the coup clear," a spokesman, Mahmoud Ghozlah, told the Saudi-backed newspaper 'Al-Sharq al-Awsat'. "This encroachment on the result may lead to a confrontation between the people and the army."
Suspicions over the intentions of the army among both the Brotherhood and revolutionaries was exacerbated by the sudden -- and incorrect -- announcement that ex-president Hosni Mubarak was "clinically dead" on Tuesday night.
The election polls closed on Sunday night, with 14,000 polling stations handing in their results to the commission and the candidates by next morning. Mr Shafiq has yet to make clear how his figures for the totals are different from everyone else's.
The commission has confirmed that it is examining 400 complaints from both sides, but Dr Morsi's lead of almost a million votes would require very heavy and one-sided disqualifications to be overturned.
There were further reports last night that the commission, whose head, Farouq Sultan, was appointed by Mr Mubarak, was preparing to postpone an announcement. (© Daily Telegraph, London)