Egypt's pro-democracy activists fear run-off vote

Protest groups left to wonder if struggle to overthrow Mubarak has backfired on them

Cairo

The shock and bewilderment following Egypt's unexpected preliminary presidential election result has triggered recriminations among the liberal activists who helped topple Hosni Mubarak last year.

Many of the protesters, who saw preferred candidates such as the left-wing activist Hamdeen Sabahi pushed out of the running, are openly questioning whether the months of gritty street politics which convulsed Egypt last year might have backfired.

Unofficial results suggest next month's presidential run-off will pit the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi against Ahmed Shafik, a former air force chief who is widely viewed as the ruling military council's de facto candidate.

Analysts suggested Mr Shafik was catapulted into second place by voters tired of the eekly demonstrations and a rise in crime after Mr Mubarak's fall.

It has left some activists wondering whether they made a disastrous miscalculation by getting lured into repeated bouts of violence by the military and security forces. "We didn't get our message across to the normal citizens," said Mona Dadeir, a member of the April 6 youth movement that helped spearhead protests last year. "They blame us because they lost their sense of security."

Shereen al-Touny, an activist who co-founded a NGO to monitor parliamentary elections, said she understood why voters had grown weary.

"I am a revolutionary. I went to the streets for all the marches and sit-ins. But I am tired," she said. "If I am saying I'm tired, can you imagine what someone sitting on their couch at home is saying?"

Official election results will be announced this week, but many activists are horrified at the prospect of voting for either of the current run-off candidates. "Ahmed Shafik will hang us if he wins," Amal Sharaf, a leading member of April 6, said.

There is also a belief that again, when it really mattered, the liberal opposition was hopelessly divided. If other so-called "revolutionary" candidates had stepped down, they argue, Mr Sabahi could have won.

"That was a historical mistake," Shady el-Ghazaly Harb, a founding member of a leading youth coalition, said. Activists are calling for more anti-Shafik protests in Cairo tomorrow.

In a separate development, one of Mr Mubarak's closest aides was jailed for seven years and fined $6m (£3.8m) for corruption.

A Cairo court convicted Zakaria Azmi of using his position to illegally make $7m (£4.5m).

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sheridan Maine: Accounts Assistant

£25,000 - £30,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you looking for a fantastic opportunity...

Neil Pavier: Commercial Analyst

£50,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you a professionally qualified commercial ...

Loren Hughes: Financial Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Loren Hughes: Are you looking for a new opportunity that wi...

Ashdown Group: IT Support Engineer - Professional Services Firm - Oxford

£21000 - £24000 per annum + 21 days holidays: Ashdown Group: Technical Support...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor