The Egyptian electorol commission has released the official results of the country’s first round of presidential elections. The second round run off will see the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi face former Mubarak-era Prime Minister and Air Force Commander Ahmed Shafiq.
According to the commission Morsi received 5.76 million votes while Shafiq received 5.5 million. The closeness of the competition in the first round makes the second round look all the more heated. The second round will take place on the 16th and 17th of June. That leaves just under three weeks until the election days.
Third place was the leftist candidate Hmdeen Sabahi who received 4.82 million votes. 25 million of the countries 50 million eligible voters took to the polls.
This election, the first presidential vote since Hosni Mubarak was ousted last year in the Arab Spring, will define Egypts future for many years to come and may delineate the country’s relationship with the rest of the world for some time.
A vote for Shafiq is seen as a return to the status quo in the country. The leader has close ties to the army and the former regime. He refuses to denounce the former president of the country despite his departure being the reason for elections in the first place.
On the other hand many in the west fear the election of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood to a majority in the legislative branch and the executive branch would bring instability to the country and lead to it going backward.
The Muslim Brotherhood may attempt to renegotiate or get rid of the peace treaty with Israel that has led foreign affairs considerations in the country for years. A recent pew research poll showed the treaty to be unpopular in the North African country and showed many were in favor of striking it down.
The match up was the most feared outcome of the first round of elections as the conflict between the two groups of supporters is great. If the Muslim Brotherhood candidate is elected it is speculated that the ruling Supreme Council of the Military will refuse to give up power in an orderly fashion.
On the other hand the return of power to Mubarak’s clique could bring widespread turmoil to the country that spent so long trying to take him out of power. The election line up is one of the most evocative of the crisis Egypt currently finds itself in.