CAIRO – After a long week’s wait, Egyptians will find out their first free elected president on Sunday as Tahrir square protesters spar with the ruling generals over what it sees as a military power grab.
"Faruk Sultan, the head of the presidential election commission, will announce the results of the presidential election run-off on Sunday at 3:00pm (1300 GMT)," the commission's secretary general, Hatem Bagato, said in a statement cited by Agence France Presse (AFP) on Saturday, June 23.
The party atmosphere in the square anticipated what could be one of the most dramatic turns of events in the Middle East in decades - the emergence of an Islamist president of the most populous Arab nation.
Protesters have been out on Cairo's Tahrir Square day and night to demand the current ruling generals cancel measures they say are designed to hem in the powers of the man they believe was elected, Mohamed Morsy.
Hundreds were there again on Saturday, chanting "Victory for Morsy!" and "Morsy, Morsy, Allahu akbar!" (God is greatest), before officials finally set a time for announcing the result.
Both Morsi and Shafiq have claimed victory in the election for a successor to Hosni Mubarak, sparking tensions between the rival camps that have deepened after the electoral commission delayed announcing the official outcome.
Morsi’s campaign said that the Brotherhood’s candidate won 52 percent of votes based on a count from 95 percent of polling stations.
Shafiq, the last premier of deposed president Hosni Mubarak, won 48 percent of votes.
On the other hand, Shafiq campaign confirmed that he had won the election without specifying any supporting figures.
The delay in the announcement of the result of the June 16-17 run-off, initially scheduled for Thursday, has raised suspicions that the outcome of the election is being negotiated rather than counted.
The new president will inherit a struggling economy, deteriorating security and the challenge of uniting a nation divided by the 18-day uprising that toppled Mubarak in February 2011.
Waiting for the election results, Tahrir protesters stressed they want the ruling military council to keep promises to hand over power.
"We want the military council to announce the real results without forgery," said Hassan Eissa, 43, an accountant from north of Cairo who was demonstrating on the square.
He accused the army of reneging on promises it took months earlier when it dissolved the parliament on the eve of the presidential run-off and then took for itself legislative powers by decree.
"They have no right," Eissa said.
"Egyptians shouldn't be under any kind of guardianship after the revolution."
In a last-minute decree issued last Sunday, the next president's powers have been curbed following an order by the ruling military council after it ordered the dissolution of the Islamist-led parliament.
At Tahrir square, hundreds of thousands of protesters were determined to stay until they achieve their demands of restoring the parliament and cancelling the supplementary constitutional decree and restore the parliament.
Gathering all political forces, Tahrir square returned to its shape during the 18-day revolution last January 2011 to topple Mubarak.
Among those protesting on Tahrir Square on Saturday, Cairo lawyer Atef Rehan who did not support Mursi in the first round of presidential election.
"I'm not from the Brotherhood and I voted for Morsy only reluctantly,” Rehan said.
"But I am here to support their demands."
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