The Times West Virginian

World News

June 21, 2012

Egypt president announcement delayed

CAIRO — Authorities delayed the announcement of the winner of Egypt’s presidential election, which had been expected today, and gave no date for a decision, hiking tension as allegations of fraud swirled and each candidate declared he was the victor.

Amid the atmosphere of political confusion, the Muslim Brotherhood claimed there was an organized campaign of allegations against it to mar the election and keep its candidate, Mohammed Morsi, out of the presidency. The accusation raises temperatures and the possibility of a backlash from the Brotherhood if its rival — former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq — is declared the winner.

On top of the potentially explosive dispute over the election is murkiness over the latest health scare of the 84-year-old former President Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted in Egypt’s uprising last year and is now serving a life sentence in prison.

Overnight, state media reported that he suffered a stroke and was put on life support.  He was transferred to a military hospital from the Cairo prison hospital where he has been kept since his June 2 conviction and sentencing for failing to stop the killing of protesters during the uprising.

Security officials said Wednesday he was in a coma but off life support and his heart and other vital organs were functioning. But the ambiguity over his condition has fueled skepticism among the public, where many already suspect that reports of his deteriorating condition are merely a pretext by security and military officials sympathetic to the former boss to get him out of prison to a more comfortable facility.

Egypt’s election of a successor to Mubarak was long touted as a landmark moment, the choosing of the country’s first civilian president in generations, who was meant to take the reins of power from the generals who have ruled directly since Mubarak’s removal on Feb. 11, 2011. Instead, it is shaping into a possible confrontation between the Brotherhood on one side and the military and entrenched elements of Mubarak’s old regime.

In a series of swift moves the past week, the ruling generals have cornered for themselves sweeping powers that effectively subordinate the next president and severely limit his capability for independent action.

A court order dissolved parliament, which was led by the Brotherhood, and the military issued a constitutional declaration that makes the generals the nation’s legislators and gives them control of the budget. They will dominate the security system after reshaping a key National Defense Council to keep it under their control, not the president’s. The generals will also oversee the process of writing Egypt’s new, permanent constitution. Allies of the military and Mubarak-era officials also hold sway in the judiciary, the prosecutor’s office and the election commission.

“It is clear that there is sharp polarization between the army and the Muslim Brotherhood,” said Islamist Montasser el-Zayat, a prominent rights lawyer and activist. “It suggests that the next few days will probably be difficult for Egypt and the Egyptians.”

Hundreds of Brotherhood supporters camped out in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Wednesday night, denouncing the ruling military and vowing to stay in place until the parliament, which was dissolved last week on a court order, is reinstated.

Egypt’s Elections Commission said in a statement that announcing results will be postponed from Thursday because a panel of judges has to look into some 400 complaints over voting submitted by both Shafiq and Morsi’s campaign. The Commission gave no new date.

Some of the complaints were presented on Wednesday night, shortly before the commission released its statement. It said that for five hours, the commission listened to lawyers of both camps. Shafiq’s lawyers claimed fraud in 14 of Egypt’s 27 provinces where they said ballots sent to polling centers were already marked in favor of Morsi.

Morsi’s lawyers said that the voters’ lists included soldiers, who are barred from voting, and the names of dead people.

Security officials said several employees of the state press, where election ballots were printed, were being questioned by prosecutors over allegations that thousands of the ballots were marked in favor of Morsi. Already, three heads of polling centers in different parts of the country have been arrested for questioning about alleged vote rigging.

There have been more complaints about last weekend’s presidential runoff than any election since the ouster of Mubarak. But foreign and local monitors say the violations they observed were not serious or large-scale enough to question the legality of the process.

The Shafiq camp says that the former air force commander — who was Mubarak’s last prime minister — won with 51.5 percent of the vote. The campaign of Islamist Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood says he got 52 percent to defeat Shafiq with 48 percent.

Rumors of fraud grew so strong that on Wednesday night, the deputy head of the Muslim Brotherhood, Khairat el-Shater, appeared on television to debunk reports that he had been arrested.

“There are attempts to spoil the political scene and delay the birth of a good regime,” said el-Shater, who was the Brotherhood’s original candidate for the presidency until he was disqualified from running by a Mubarak-era conviction, forcing the group to run Morsi in his place.

“There is an attempt to recreate Mubarak’s regime ... through a fierce campaign of black rumors all across the country,” he said. “There are rumors related to elections’ results, to arrests, illness and martial laws.” Morsi, he underlined, “is the first president elected by the people.”

Tens of thousands of Islamists from the Brotherhood and its allies staged a protest in central Cairo on Tuesday night to denounce the dissolution of parliament and the military’s arrogation of increased powers. But the rally was equally a show of strength to push back against Shafiq’s claim of victory. The protesters chanted in support of Morsi and touted his portraits.

Already, the Brotherhood has warned that a win by Shafiq, widely seen as an extension of the Mubarak regime, could only the result of fraud and that it would send its supporters out on the streets.

Mubarak’s transfer out of prison overnight could also stir up anger among opponents of the regime, who have long suspected that he is getting preferential treatment by the ruling generals led by Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, the former president’s defense minister for 20 years. Mubarak was kept out of prison for the entire time since his arrest last year in April and until June 2 when he was taken to Torah.

Mubarak’s wife Suzanne was by his side in the Nile-side military hospital in Maadi, a suburb just south of Cairo, where he was transferred. The security officials said a team of 15 doctors, including heart, blood and brain specialists, was supervising the condition of Mubarak.  The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Mubarak was convicted of failing to prevent the killing of some 900 protesters during the 18-day uprising that forced him out of office. He and his two sons, onetime heir apparent Gamal and wealthy businessman Alaa, were acquitted of corruption charges. But the two sons are held in Torah awaiting trial on charges of insider trading.

The two were by their father’s side at the Torah prison hospital, but the officials said prison authorities refused their request to accompany him to the Maadi military hospital.

1
Text Only
World News
  • Obama offers Europe, Mideast allies assurances

    From the heart of Europe to the expanse of Saudi Arabia’s desert, President Barack Obama’s weeklong overseas trip amounted to a reassurance tour for stalwart, but sometimes skeptical, American allies.
    At a time when Obama is grappling with crises and conflict in both Europe and the Middle East, the four-country swing also served as a reminder that even those longtime partners still need some personal attention from the president.

    March 30, 2014

  • New objects seen, but no evidence of jet

    A day after the search for the Malaysian jetliner shifted to a new area of the Indian Ocean, ships on Saturday plucked objects from the sea to determine whether they were related to the missing jet. None were confirmed to be from the plane, leaving searchers with no sign of the jet three weeks after it disappeared.

    March 30, 2014

  • Security forces storm protester-held Egypt mosque and round up hundreds

    Egyptian security forces stormed a Cairo mosque Saturday after a heavy exchange of gunfire with armed men shooting down from a minaret, rounding up hundreds of supporters of the country’s ousted president who had sought refuge there overnight after violent clashes killed 173 people.

    August 18, 2013

  • Hundreds reported killed as Egypt smashes protests

    In Egypt’s bloodiest day since the Arab Spring began, riot police Wednesday smashed two protest camps of supporters of the deposed Islamist president, touching off street violence that officials said killed nearly 300 people and forced the military-backed interim leaders to impose a state of emergency and curfew.

    August 15, 2013

  • Seven Saudis among militants killed by drones

    At least seven suspected militants from Saudi Arabia were among the alleged al-Qaida members killed in Yemen in a recent wave of U.S. drone strikes, senior Yemeni officials said Friday, suggesting that Saudis are increasingly crossing the border to carry funds or seek terrorist training.

    August 10, 2013

  • Yemen terror boss left blueprint for waging jihad

    A year before he was caught on an intercept discussing the terror plot that prompted this week’s sweeping closure of U.S. embassies abroad, al-Qaida’s top operative in Yemen laid out his blueprint for how to wage jihad in letters sent to a fellow terrorist.

    August 10, 2013

  • U.S. sharply escalates its drone war in Yemen

    The U.S. has sharply escalated its drone war in Yemen, with military officials in the Arab country reporting 34 suspected al-Qaida militants killed in less than two weeks, including three strikes on Thursday alone in which a dozen died.

    August 9, 2013

  • Nine Afghans killed in attack on Indian consulate

    Three suicide bombers tried to attack the Indian consulate in an eastern Afghan city on Saturday, sparking a shootout with guards on a bustling downtown street that left at least nine civilians dead, official said.

    August 3, 2013

  • U.S. diplomat in Egypt holds talks with rival sides

    Egypt’s Interior Ministry warned supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi on Saturday for a second time to abandon their protest camps as a senior U.S. diplomat met with officials on both sides of the country’s political divide.

    August 3, 2013

  • In Egypt bloodshed, dozens of Morsi supporters are killed

    Security forces and armed men clashed with supporters of Egypt’s ousted president early Saturday, killing at least 65 people in mayhem that underscored an increasingly heavy hand against protests demanding Mohammed Morsi’s return to office.

    July 28, 2013

Featured Ads
NDN Editor's Picks
House Ads