From the Editors
Both presidential campaigns – those of Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Mursi and last Mubarak-era PM Ahmed Shafiq – continue to claim victory.
Final results of Egypt's contentious presidential election will likely be announced on Saturday or Sunday, according to a Wednesday statement by the Supreme Presidential Electoral Commission. The announcement had originally been scheduled for Thursday.
According to a Shafiq campaign source, their candidate is confident that he will be named Egypt's next president, based on information received from "top state authorities."
A Mursi campaign source, for his part, pointed to an announcement by a group of reformist judges on Wednesday corroborating the Muslim Brotherhood's vote count, which put Mursi ahead by almost one million votes.
Meanwhile, a source close to Egypt's Supreme Presidential Elections Commission (SPEC) categorically denied recent allegations that close to one million ballots had been pre-marked in Mursi's favour.
"These claims have no basis in fact; this is a rumor that has been disproven by investigations," the SPEC source said. He went on to explain that the print house responsible for producing the ballots had been firmly secured by military police.
The idea that there had been enough judges to put all these pre-marked ballots in ballot boxes – while removing the exact same number of blank ballots – strained credibility, the same source added.
Meanwhile, a source close to Mursi's office said that rumors of a Shafiq victory were only "a means of exerting psychological pressure" on Mursi aimed at forcing the Brotherhood candidate to take the presidential oath of office before Egypt's High Constitutional Court (HCC). Such a move would be tantamount to the Brotherhood's recognition of the addendum to last year's Constitutional Declaration, issued earlier this week by the ruling military council granting it significant executive authority.
The same source suggested that Mursi might agree to take the oath before the HCC, despite the Muslim Brotherhood's opposition to the constitutional addendum. Mursi was mulling this option, the source said, in hopes of pre-empting an "all-out confrontation" between political forces that could have dire implications for domestic stability.
Meanwhile, security sources say they are working on a 'Plan B,' in which Shafiq would be declared president.
"We're bracing for a major wave of rioting and unrest for at least two days, which could be incited by the Muslim Brotherhood after Shafiq is announced president," the security source said.
He added that there were plans to put the country in a state of high alert, covering the capital and other major urban centres, such as Alexandria, Suez and Ismailiya. He also said that extra security measures had been put in place to protect churches, especially in light of the considerable electoral support Shafiq had received from Coptic-Christian voters.
"We anticipate all kinds of problems and are taking steps to contain them," the same source added.
[Developed in partnership with Ahram Online.]
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