Egypt's generals accused of 'soft coup' as two candidates claim presidency

 

Cairo

Egypt's ruling generals were yesterday accused of mounting a "soft coup" by assuming sweeping new political powers even as the Muslim Brotherhood claimed a dramatic victory in the final round of the presidential polls – the country's first since the toppling of Hosni Mubarak last year.

Egyptians living in downtown Cairo awoke to the sound of honking car horns as supporters of Mohamed Morsi, the Brotherhood's candidate, rushed towards Tahrir Square to celebrate what they believe is an epoch-making victory after the knife-edge vote. Arriving at his central Cairo headquarters yesterday morning, Mr Morsi assumed the mantle of the victor with a triumphant speech.

But even as he proclaimed a democratic victory, there were fears about the creeping hand of the ruling generals, who took over in the wake of Mubarak's ouster to oversee the transition to an elected government.

In a grim augury for the future of the country's revolution, the military council issued a decree on Sunday night granting itself sweeping new powers, including oversight over legislation and the ability to appoint a committee drafting the new constitution. It has led to suggestions from some political groups that Egypt's generals remain intent on undermining the country's transition.

Meanwhile, the Brotherhood was accused of pre-empting the official results of the weekend's elections, which are not due out until Thursday. "Thank God, who guided the people of Egypt to this correct path, the road of freedom, democracy," Mr Morsi declared.

His supposed triumph – announced by his group just hours after polls closed – was immediately disputed by officials working alongside his opponent, Ahmed Shafik, who was Mubarak's last prime minister. Speaking on Egypt's ONTV channel, Mr Shafik's spokesman condemned the Brotherhood for pre-empting the official count.

He accused the Islamist organisation of engaging in "pathetic media manipulation" by announcing preliminary figures on its website. In an interview with The Independent, another official working for Mr Shafik suggested the Brotherhood was subverting the democratic process.

Whoever won, they did so by a whisker. Figures released by Mr Morsi's team – based on private tallies by campaign workers obtained from judges overseeing counting stations – claimed their man had triumphed with 52 per cent of the vote, just four points ahead of Shafik. On the flip side, the Shafik campaign said their candidate had his nose ahead with between 51 to 52 per cent of the vote.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager / Media Sales - OTE up to £30,000

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award-winning company, whi...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Software Developer

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique & exciting opp...

Recruitment Genius: UX Consultant

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will be working with a 8 st...

Recruitment Genius: Part-time Editor

£8000 - £12000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A unique opportunity has arisen ...

Day In a Page

A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935