Cairo -- Tight security protected a continuing presidential election ballot counting process in Cairo. While failing to secure the votes needed to avoid a runoff, Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Mursi's apparent first place finish in Egypt's first ever truly contested presidential election assured him a spot in the June runoff. Behind tight security, vote counting continued in Cairo on Friday to determine whether Pan-Arab Karama (dignity) Party's Hamdeen Sabbahi (also spelled Sabahi) or former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq will face Mursi.
Sabbahi , described as a Nasserite for his support of Gamal Nasser's mix of pan-Arab nationalism and socialism, remains popular across a spectrum of religious interests. Shafiq, a former air force officer, Minister of Aviation, and stop-gap Prime Minister in the final days before Hosni Mubarak's ouster is more polarizing. A Mursi-Shafiq showdown will put many of Egypt's Tahir Square revolutionaries "in the teeth of a tiger," i.e., faced with voting for an Islamist candidate anathematic to the liberalized democratic ideals of the revolution or an openly pro-Mubarack "feloul" (remnant) of the old regime.
Notably absent is Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (simply known as Sisi), without question as Chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces, the most powerful man in Egypt. Sisi holds the real power. He has operated a quiet campaign, primarily defending the interests of the Egyptian military, especially their perceived relationship as friend to the people and guardians of the revolution. (more)