Egypt election: Both sides claims victory

The Guardian summarizes today’s events in Egypt so far:

Muslim Brotherhood supporters have been celebrating in Tahrir Square after the group claimed victory for its candidate in the presidential election. By the Brotherhood’s count, Mohammed Morsi took 13.2 million votes, or 51.8% with more than 99% of the more than 13,000 poll centres counted. It gave Morsi’s opponent – Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister Ahmed Shafiq – 48.1% out of 25.5 million votes. Shafiq’s campaign challenged the result.

But a statement from Ahmed Shafiq’s campaign claimed he was ahead “beyond all doubt“. Shafiq’s media spokesman Ahmed Sarhan accused the Brotherhood of trying to create a “fait accompli” and of risking confrontation on the streets “when official results declare Shafiq to be the winner”. But at a s press conference Sarhan appeared confused suggesting Morsi had 52% of votes so far and Shafiq 51.5%.

‘• The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (Scaf) has denied that it is engaging in a power grab after it issued a new constitutional declaration tying the hands of the country’s incoming president and cementing military authority over the post-Mubarak era. At a press conference it accused people of “blowing this out of proportion” and urged people to “stop all the criticisms that we are a state within a state”. Despite awarding itself a range of powers including legislative responsibilities and full control of the armed forces, Scaf insisted that it was subservient to parliament. The military rulers also claimed they were unhappy that the supreme court dissolved parliament – “our biggest achievement” – and said they had no control over the armed forces.

The Muslim Brotherhood labelled the military declaration “null and void“. Nobel laureate Mohamed ElBaradei described it as a “grave setback for democracy“. Human rights activist Hossam Bahgat, said: “Egypt has completely left the realm of the Arab Spring and entered the realm of military dictatorship.”

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