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Egyptian Election Commission Confirms Runoff Participants
May 28, 2012

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The Egyptian election commission has confirmed what early estimates had hinted at: The presidential election runoff next month will be between Mohammed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, and Ahmed Shafiq, the last prime minister to server under former President Hosni Mubarak.

After several weeks of intense campaigning, punctuated by large street demonstrations and even a televised debate, the election was finally on, with about 25 million eligible voters showing their preference. In the end, Morsi garnered 5.76 million votes, just ahead of Shafiq's total of 5.5 million. Coming in third was Hamdeen Sabahi, a candidate who hadn't figured much in discussions leading up to the voting. Sabahi, a longtime opposition leader, is head of the Dignity Party.

Finishing fourth and fifth, respectively, were Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh (4.1 million votes) and Amr Moussa (2.6 million votes), who, based on opinion polls at the time, were the only two participants in the televised debate. Since that time, the Muslim Brotherhood's support coalesced around Morsi, the Brotherhood's second choice, after their initial standard-bearer, Khairat el-Shater, was disqualified, along with nine other candidates.

Turnout was estimated at 43 percent, lower than that for the parliamentary elections in January.

Seven of the 13 candidates appealed the results, alleging, among other things, voter fraud. The election commission has rejected all appeals, four because they could not be substantiated and the other three because they arrived after the deadline. The commission has certified the results, meaning that Morsi's and Shafiq's will be the only two names on the ballot on June 16-17. The winner after that round will be the new president.

Should that president be Morsi, it will mean a clean sweep for the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, which won a large share of the seats in both houses of Parliament. Shafiq, on the other hand, is more of an establishment candidate, having served as a fighter pilot for several years, once under Mubarak's direct command.

The ruling military generals have vowed to hand over power once the president is in place.

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