Egypt's generals accused of 'soft coup' as two candidates claim presidency
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.
Revealed: Devastating impact of 'bedroom tax' sees huge leap in demand for emergency hardship handouts for tenants
Notes from a small island: Is Sealand an independent 'micronation' or an illegal fortress?
You thought Ryanair's attendants had it bad? Wait 'til you hear about their pilots
Revealed: Eerie new images show forgotten French apartment that was abandoned at the outbreak of World War II and left untouched for 70 years
Chloe Johnson death: Family of five-year-old British girl who died in a pool at in Egypt's Sharm el-Sheikh resort 'angry' that more wasn't done to save her
- 1 Stoke City investigate 'religious abuse' after 'pig's head is found in Kenwyne Jones' locker'
- 2 Gove’s lesson: spare the comma, spoil the child
- 3 You thought Ryanair's attendants had it bad? Wait 'til you hear about their pilots
- 4 Join Ryanair! See the world! But we'll only pay you for nine months a year
- 5 It’s official: thanks to Stephen Hawking's Israel boycott, anti-Semitism is no more
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.
£30000 - £40000 per annum + BENS: Progressive Recruitment: Drupal Developer A ...
£45000 - £50000 per annum + bens: Progressive Recruitment: C# WEB DEVELOPER Le...
£240 - £260 per day: Progressive Recruitment: WPF Developer (C#, VB.Net) North...
£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: KS2 teacher needed to do PPA ...