Egypt's election officials announced on Wednesday that they had delayed declaration of results from the presidential run-off polls, saying that they needed more time to look into complaints made by the two candidates about the conduct of the polls.
The Higher Presidential Elections Commission (HPEC) said it had received some 400 election complaints from the two candidates. It noted that more time was requited to investigate the complaints, but declined to say when the results would be announced.
Last week's second round polls pitted Muslim Brotherhood's candidate Mohamed Morsi against former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq. Although the results are yet to be announced, both candidates have claimed victory in the run-off.
Incidentally, Egypt's ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which came into power after the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak in a popular unrest last year, has promised to hand over power to a newly-elected President on July 1.
But, the SCAF dissolved the country's elected Parliament on Saturday, following a court ruling that last year's legislative polls were unconstitutional. The very next day, SCAF issued a constitutional declaration giving itself sweeping legislative powers as well as control over the budget and over who writes the permanent Constitution. The declaration, issued hours after the voting for the presidential run-off ended on Sunday, also curtailed the powers of the incoming President.
Separately, European Union Foreign Policy chief Catherine Ashton on Wednesday expressed serious concern over the latest institutional developments surrounding Egypt's recently concluded presidential run-off vote, in particular the dissolution of Parliament as well as the constitutional declaration that constrains the powers of the President and creates uncertainties about the drafting of a new Constitution.
In a statement issued by her office, Ashton stressed the "importance of democratic institutions, a representative constitutional process and a speedy handover." She said the transition must respect "the Egyptian people's aspirations and demands for dignity, democracy and freedom," and reiterated
"EU's eagerness to engage with Egypt's democratically elected authorities."
Egypt is currently witnessing widespread protests against the two recent moves made by the SCAF, mainly in Cairo's Tahrir Square that served as the nerve center of last year's uprising against Mubarak. The anti-SCAF protests are currently peaceful, but past experiences have shown that it does not take much time for the mood of the protesters to change.
by RTT Staff Writer
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