Let ballot box speak, says Brotherhood

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Let ballot box speak, says Brotherhood

CAIRO — On the eve of Egypt’s presidential run-off election, the Muslim Brotherhood tried on Friday to salvage its hopes for leadership, urging voters to back its candidate after it lost its political stronghold with the dissolving of parliament.

By (Agencies)

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Published: Sat 16 Jun 2012, 12:43 AM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 2:40 PM

Instead of calling for mass protests, the Brotherhood urged action through voting.

In the run-off set for Saturday and Sunday, Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Mursi faces Ahmed Shafiq, who was the last prime minister for ousted president Hosni Mubarak. “Isolate the representative of the former regime through the ballot box,” a Brotherhood statement said on Friday, referring to Shafiq.

With the Brotherhood eyeing the election as a final hope for retaining leadership, Mursi gave assurances that he would work closely with the country’s military rulers and keep the interests of the military at heart. “As president, they will be in my heart and will get my attention. ... they will never do anything to harm the nation,” he said.

This week’s court decisions dissolving the Islamist-dominated parliament and allowing Shafiq to stay in the race are seen as boosting the military’s hold on the reins. The military took over after Mubarak stepped down in February 2011 but has pledged to hand over its powers after a new president is chosen.

An unnamed judicial official quoted on the state-run Al Ahram news portal said the military will keep legislative powers until either the election of a new parliament or until a new constitution is written.

In an interview late on Thursday, Mursi said he does not see the court rulings as a military coup against the revolution, despite a statement to the contrary by a senior Brotherhood member.

Instead, Mursi said: “We are going to the ballot boxes to say ‘no’ to the losers, the killers, the criminals.” The Brotherhood became the biggest party in parliament last year after elections that were seen as Egypt’s first democratic balloting in generations, but Thursday’s court decision erased that power base and left the country without a legislature.

Security is being beefed up around polling stations nationwide with more than double the number of troops and police compared to last month’s first-round vote. According to security officials, there will be 200,000 policemen and 200,000 soldiers deployed Saturday and Sunday to secure an election that may see violence flare.

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