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article imageEgypt holds presidential vote amid rising tension, uncertainty

By Garry Malloy     Jun 16, 2012 in Politics
Cairo - Egypt's runoff presidential election began Saturday and will continue through Sunday amid a cloud of uncertainty and suspicion after its supreme court ruled to dissolve the democratically elected parliament Thursday.
As a result, the military has regained control of the legislative process. The courts have also granted the military the power to arrest civilians for a wide variety of offenses. The move is criticized as reminiscent of the emergency law that was in place for over 30 years during Mubarak's autocratic rule.
Reporting to Al Jazeera, Mike Hanna said: "There is no parliament, constitution and the military holds both legislative and executive power basically ruling by decree.
“That is the circumstances under which Egyptians are going to vote for the man that will be the next leader of this country.”
The choices for president are limited to two; the Brotherhood's Mohamad Morsi and former military commander Ahmed Shafik.
Ahmed Shafik is a former general and the last PM serving under Mubarak's old regime. He is reportedly the favorite of the military and the jailed Mubarak. He is running on a law-and-order political platform.
The Brotherhood characterizes Shafiq as a "fuloul" (remnant) of the old regime who is "climbing to power over the corpses of the martyrs of the revolution."
Of the two candidates, Shafik is regarded as the most charismatic.
Mohamed Morsi is the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) candidate. He is “more conservative than the conservatives,” say Brotherhood insiders. He has been a member of the Brotherhood since 1979.
Morsi attended the University of Southern California on scholarship and earned a PhD in rocket engineering. He stayed in California after earning his PhD to teach for 3 years. Morsi then moved back to Egypt in 1985.
After moving back to Egypt, he was appointed head of engineering at Zagazig University. He worked there until 2010.
The Brotherhood has been characterized as “despotic and fanatical” and having a trust value of “minus zero” by opponents.
In the first round of the election late last month, Morsi, received 24.8% of the votes, while Shafik received 23.7%. Voter turnout was 46%.
Thus far, voter turnout is even lower this round, reports the Egypt Independent.
It also reports many Egyptians are skipping the polls, out of hopelessness or as a protest.
“Why would I vote? I voted for the Parliament, then they dissolved it," Cairo kiosk owner Mohamed Bayoumi says.
“Corruption is back. Neither of the candidates deserves my vote. We should save our effort for a second revolution,” says Saeed, a Cairo butcher shop owner.
The election result is scheduled to be officially released Thursday but may be available as early as Monday.
More about Egypt, Muslim brotherhood, Mohamed Mursi, Ahmed Shafik, Presidential election
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