Despite initial reports of a boycott and a low turnout, the Egyptian presidential vote today actually saw over 21 million votes, some 49 percent of the eligible ballots, cast in an extremely tight vote between the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party candidate, Dr. Mohammed Mursi, and Mubarak regime loyalist Air Marshall Ahmed Shafiq.
Voting ran long, with the junta keeping polls open through 10 pm local time last night, and the counting carried on into the early morning before, unofficially, Dr. Mursi appears to have netted a victory with a margin of 895,000 votes.
The victory would have had much more impact, but just after the polls closed and before the count began in earnest the military junta issued an edict granting themselves full legislative power and asserting much of the power of the presidency as well.
The Shafiq campaign has yet to concede a defeat, and was angrily condemning the Mursi campaign for its “pathetic media manipulation” in delivering a victory speech before the certified vote had been released.
Assuming it stands, however, Dr. Mursi is to be inaugurated later this month, and will certainly be a loud critic of junta powers. How effective he will be in asserting himself against a hostile junta, however, remains to be seen.