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Islamists Demonstrate in Cairo over Election Delays

RIA Novosti

17:38 22/06/2012 CAIRO, June 22 (RIA Novosti) - Thousands of supporters of Egyptian presidential candidate Mohamed Mursi gathered on Tahrir Square in central Cairo on Friday demanding that Mursi be declared the winner.

Demonstrators have put up an estimated 200 tents and said they will not leave the square until the results of the second round of presidential elections are officially declared.

“We will stay here until stability comes to the country and the president assumes office,” said a member of Muslim Brotherhood’s political wing who introduced himself as Said.

The demonstrators are also demanding that the decision to dissolve parliament be overturned and that powers claimed by Egypt’s ruling military council be revoked.

The official results of the June 16-17 run-off vote, in which Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate Mursi faced Ahmed Shafiq, who served as prime minister under ex-President Hosni Mubarak, were to be published on Thursday. But the Supreme Presidential Elections Commission (SPEC) said it needed more time to examine some 400 reports of electoral violations filed by both presidential candidates. The commission said the results would be published on Saturday or Sunday.

The Muslim Brotherhood declared on Monday, the day after the elections, that Mursi won 52 percent of the vote. The Islamists published 13,000 copies of voting protocols from polling stations that they claimed confirm Mursi’s victory. Experts say, however, that there were multiple discrepancies in the documents provided by Mursi’s campaign staff.

Shafiq also claimed victory in the vote. During a Thursday news conference in Cairo, he said he was sure that he had won and was not going to surrender. He added, however, that the last word in the dispute was with the elections commission.

The delay has further raised tensions in Egypt, with opponents of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) accusing the generals of clinging to power and demanding that they immediately hand over the reins to a civilian president.

The military council criticized Mursi and Shafiq’s claims of victory on Friday.

“The announcement of presidential election results before the official results are available is an unjustified act that has become a reason for a split and complications on the political arena,” the council said in a statement read out on state television.

The military said they maintain neutrality and support none of the presidential candidates.

The SCAF took power in the country following Mubarak’s ouster as president in last year’s revolution.

A few days before the elections, Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court ruled to dissolve parliament, which was dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, saying that the 2011 parliamentary elections were unconstitutional. The SCAF confirmed the ruling on Sunday and said it would assume legislative powers in the country.

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