Friday, April 18, 2014


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Egypt Presidential Vote Enters Final Day

An Egyptian Christian Coptic woman casts her vote in the country's presidential election at a polling station in Cairo.
An Egyptian Christian Coptic woman casts her vote in the country's presidential election at a polling station in Cairo.
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By RFE/RL
Egyptians have been going to the polls for a second and final day of voting to elect their first president since Hosni Mubarak was ousted in February 2011.

Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Mursi is facing Ahmed Shafiq, the last prime minister under Mubarak, in the runoff election.

Mursi has promised economic and political reform, and vowed to defend the goals of last year's uprising, while Shafiq has campaigned on a return-to-stability platform.

The need to repair the country’s economy following decades of poor management and 16 months of political turmoil was uppermost in many people's minds.

"I hope the newly elected president will be nice to his people," a Mursi supporter told Reuters television in Cairo. "[I hope that he] will provide job opportunities for unemployed young people, will solve the housing problem, and also develop agriculture which is the foundation of our lives."

Tensions High

Political tensions in the country are high, and some 150,000 troops have been deployed to maintain order during the two days of voting, which comes amid a row over a decision by the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to order the lower house of parliament dissolved.

The Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist movement freed from decades of clandestine opposition, denounced the move as a "coup against the whole democratic process."

The military’s move followed a ruling by Egypt's highest court that the law governing last year’s general elections was unconstitutional because party members were allowed to contest seats in the lower house reserved for independents.

Mursi's Freedom and Justice Party won almost half of the seats in the legislature in the polls -- Egypt's first democratic elections in more than six decades.

Official results gave him nearly 25 percent of the votes in the first round of presidential elections last month, and Shafiq almost 24 percent. Turnout among the 52 million eligible voters was 46 percent.

The military has vowed to hand over power to the winner of the presidential election by the end of the month.

With reporting by AFP, dpa, and Reuters
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