24/Apr/2014 - Last News Update: 19:44

Candidates spar as Egypt presidential polls near close

Category: Headlines

Published: 24th May 2012 19:16:52

Tensions have been rising between some of the main candidates in Egypt's presidential elections as polls near a close on the second day of voting.

Amr Moussa and Ahmed Shafiq have traded accusations, saying false rumours are being spread that each is about to withdraw from the hotly contested race.

Other candidates have also been accused of breaking "election silence" rules.

Amid reports of a patchy turnout, polling was extended for an hour in Egpyt's first free presidential polls.

Polls will now close at 21:00 local time (19:00 GMT).

The elections pit Islamists against secularists, and revolutionaries against Mubarak-era ministers.

In all, 13 candidates are running. The front-runners are:

While voting appears to be continuing smoothly at polling stations across Egypt on the second and final day of voting, tensions are rising between the main candidates - particularly those competing for the same voters.

Although campaigning rules restrict them from giving interviews to Egyptian news outlets, they have invented dubious reasons to do so and have spoken to pan-Arab and international ones.

The former Arab League head, Amr Moussa described to BBC Arabic and others how "sinister rumours" were spread by the Ahmed Shafiq campaign that he was about to withdraw.

Mr Shafiq's spokesman then made a similar claim in reverse to the official news agency, Mena. He also complained about "lies" spread by Islamist groups.

On Wednesday, the deputy head of the Muslim Brotherhood's political wing complained about candidates "using the media to affect voters" in violation of the campaign silence law - at a news conference.

Minor violations outside polling stations have been reported to the Higher Presidential Election Commission by all sides.

Hosni Mubarak - whose 30-year rule was overthrown last February and who is on trial for ordering the killing of protesters - is said to be watching proceedings from hospital.

A row erupted between two of the main candidates for apparently spreading damaging rumours about each other.

In a BBC interview, Mr Moussa launched an angry attack on his rival Mr Shafiq - who was appointed prime minister in the dying days of Mr Mubarak's rule - saying he represented the ideas of the old regime.

Mr Moussa denied what he described as "sinister rumours" that he was about to withdraw from the race.

But in later interviews Mr Shafiq hit back, accusing Mr Moussa's campaigns of spreading similar rumours - and pointing out Mr Moussa's connections to the old regime. Mr Moussa served as a minister under Mubarak from 1991 to 2001.

Mr Shafiq, Mr Fotouh and Mr Mursi have all been accused of breaking rules requiring candidates keep silent on polling days and on Wednesday the election commission said it would be investigating such allegations.

Turnout appeared to vary across the country on Thursday, which authorities had declared a public holiday.

In Cairo, there were long queues at some polling stations but elsewhere, such as Alexandria and Suez, there were reports of slow voting.

We have faith in God that history will treat President Mubarak with justice”

Egypt's election commission estimated that about 50% of eligible voters had participated, reported official news agency Mena.

The military body that assumed presidential power in February 2011 - the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (Scaf) - has promised a fair vote and civilian rule.

Fifty million people are eligible to vote, and preliminary results are expected over the weekend.

Until a new constitution is approved it is unclear what powers the president will have, prompting fears of friction with a military which seems determined to retain its powerful position.

NGOs and rights groups monitoring the election have reported some complaints, including illegally campaigning outside polling stations.

Meanwhile some young people in Cairo told the BBC they had doubts about the vote.

"Has the revolution accomplished all of its goals? No," said Dina Kassem.

"You know we still have so much to go like any other country. The French revolution took how many years? But you can see the fact of it today. And that's what we're hoping to bring to Egypt."

Another young voter, Assia, Krim, was less hopeful.

"Elections under a military regime are not elections. Elections under tanks, I'm sorry - they are not elections," she said.

Counting will begin as soon as polls close, and some individual polling stations are expected to announce results by Friday morning.

The results will then be collated and announced in full on Tuesday. No clear picture is likely to emerge until then.

A run-off vote is scheduled for 16 and 17 June if no candidate manages to get more than 50% of the votes.

The ruling military council, worried about potential post-election unrest, has sought to reassure Egyptians that it will be the voters themselves who decide who will be the next president.

The Arab Spring began last year in Tunisia, inspiring pro-democracy activists across the Arab world.

The period since Mr Mubarak was forced from power have been turbulent, with continued violent protests and a deteriorating economy.

Are you in Egypt? Are you planning to vote in the presidential election? You can send us your views and experiences using the form below.

If you are happy to be contacted by a BBC journalist please leave a telephone number that we can contact you on. In some cases a selection of your comments will be published, displaying your name as you provide it and location, unless you state otherwise. Your contact details will never be published. When sending us pictures, video or eyewitness accounts at no time should you endanger yourself or others, take any unnecessary risks or infringe any laws. Please ensure you have read the terms and conditions.

Terms and conditions

BBC News External Link Show Citation

Latest News

Harvard Citation

BBC News, 2012. Candidates spar as Egypt presidential polls near close [Online] (Updated 24th May 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1430767/Candidates-spar-as-Egypt-presidential-polls-near-close [Accessed 24th Apr 2014]

News In Other Categories

  • Bristol Academy extends reach overseas with first foreign students

    With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
  • Kenyan MPs in status battle with governors

    Kenyan MPs are debating a proposal to make it a criminal offence to address an official incorrectly at a state function.
  • Peter Jackson changes third Hobbit film title

    Director Peter Jackson has changed the title of the final film in his Hobbit trilogy from There and Back Again to The Battle of the Five Armies.
  • France mulls car-sharing GPS app ban

    Private car hire services in France face a ban on the GPS-enabled apps that allow people to find available drivers.
  • Sex tape 'back story' to Tulisa assault charge, Chelmsford Magistrates told

    The lawyer for former N-Dubz singer and X Factor judge Tulisa Contostavlos has asked magistrates for an assault charge against her to be dropped.
  • Newport County: Defender David Pipe released by Exiles

    David Pipe has left Newport County after coming to an agreement to end his contract with the League Two club.