Egypt enters second day of voting in search of Mubarak successor

 

Egyptians are choosing between a conservative Islamist and Hosni Mubarak's ex-prime minister in a second day of a presidential run-off that has been overshadowed by the domination of the country's military.

Going head-to-head in the runoff are Ahmed Shafiq, a long-time friend and self-confessed admirer of Mubarak, and Mohammed Morsi of the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood.

The Saturday-Sunday vote followed a week of political drama in which the military announced de facto martial rule and judges appointed by Mubarak before his ouster dissolved the freely elected, Islamist-dominated parliament.

The generals who took over from Mubarak 16 months ago are expected this week to spell out the powers of the new president and appoint a 100-member panel to draft a new constitution.The race between Shafiq and Morsi has deeply divided the country, 16 months after a stunning uprising by millions forced the authoritarian Mubarak to step down after 29 years in office.

"I am bitter and I am filled with regret that I have to choose between two people I hate. I have to pick a bad candidate only to avoid the worse of the two," lamented a silver-haired pensioner in Cairo's crowded Bab el-Shariyah district. He refused to give his name, fearing retribution for speaking so openly.

"Nothing is going to be resolved and Egypt will not see stability," he added.

A similarly pessimistic note was echoed by another voter, accountant Yasser Gad, 45. "The country is heading to a disaster. It will keep boiling until it explodes. No-one in the country wants the former regime to rule us again."

Few voters displayed an air of celebration visible in previous post-Mubarak elections. The prevailing mood was one of deep anxiety over the future - tinged with bitterness that their "revolution" had stalled, fears that no matter who wins, street protests will erupt again, or deep suspicion that the political system was being manipulated. Moreover, there was a sense of voting fatigue.

Egyptians have gone to the polls multiple times since Mubarak's fall on February 11 2011 - a referendum early last year, then three months of multi-round parliamentary elections that began in November, and the first round of presidential elections last month.

"It's a farce. I crossed out the names of the two candidates on my ballot paper and wrote 'the revolution continues'," said architect Ahmed Saad el-Deen, in Cairo's Sayedah Zeinab district, a middle-class area that is home to the shrine of a revered Muslim saint.

"I can't vote for the one who killed my brother or the second one who danced on his dead body," he said, alluding to Shafiq's alleged role in the killing of protesters during last year's uprising and claims by revolutionaries that Morsi's Brotherhood rode the uprising to realise its own political goals.

Others said they were voting against a candidate as much as for one. Anti-Shafiq voters said they wanted to stop a figure they fear will perpetuate Mubarak's regime; anti-Morsi voters feared he would hand the country over to Brotherhood domination to turn it into an Islamic state. With the fear of a new authoritarianism, some said they picked the candidate they believed would be easiest eventually to force out of power.

Asmaa Fadil, a young woman who wears the Muslim veil, said she lost confidence in the political process, particularly after the dissolution of parliament.

"I don't trust the whole thing. I feel everything is planned in advance and what we are doing now is just part of the plan," she said as she waited in line to vote in Sayedah Zeinab.

The election is supposed to be the last stop in a turbulent transition overseen by the military generals. But even if they nominally hand over some powers to the winner, they will still hold the upper hand over the next president.

The generals are likely to issue an interim constitution defining the president's authority while they retain their hold on legislative powers, and they will likely appoint a panel to write the permanent constitution.

Suggested Topics
Voices
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia
Save the tigerWildlife charities turn to those who kill animals to help save them
News
Davis says: 'My career has been about filling a niche - there were fewer short actors and fewer roles – but now I'm being offered all kinds of things'
PeopleWarwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
News
i100
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
PROMOTED VIDEO
Voices
Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Aladdin is performed at the Tony Awards in New York in June
theatreBrit producer Lythgoe makes kids' musical comedy a Los Angeles hit
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Life and Style
A small bag of the drug Ecstasy
Health
Life and Style
Floral-print swim shorts, £26, by Topman, topman.com; sunglasses, £215, by Paul Smith, mpaulsmith.co.uk
FashionBag yourself the perfect pair
News
news
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
Extras
indybest
News
i100
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

(Senior) IT Support Engineer - 1st-3rd Line Support

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful IT service provider that has bee...

Wind Farm Civil Design Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principal Marine Mechanical Engineer

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principle Geotechnical Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Day In a Page

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup