Egypt’s Morsi leads in expatriate runoff vote

Egypt’s Morsi leads in expatriate runoff vote

Egypt’s Morsi leads in expatriate runoff vote

Polls show that Brotherhood’s Morsi is ahead of former Egyptian premier Shafiq in the expatriate votes. The second round vote will be held this weekend. AP photo

Initial results showed Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi leads in the presidential race during the second round of elections among overseas voters.

An estimated 310,000 Egyptians living abroad, including in Turkey, voted in the second round of the landmark election, according to a foreign ministry statement reported by Al Arabiya website June 10. The run-off will be held on June 16-17.

The Egyptian expat community in Saudi Arabia alone accounted for almost half the voters, with more than 150,000 casting ballots. Kuwait followed with 54,530 voters and the United Arab Emirates with 33,000.

While front-runner, and former prime minister, Ahmad Shafiq was reported to be in the lead among voters in some Western countries, such as Austria, Greece, New Zealand and the United States, the Islamist candidate Morsi, was reported to be winning among Gulf voters who account for more than 88 percent of the total number of expat voters. Egyptian expats in Turkey cast 50 votes for Morsi and 31 for Shafiq, daily Hürriyet reported yesterday. Shafiq blamed the Brotherhood and said the group will take Egypt back to the “dark ages” if they win the presidency. The Brotherhood, in response, said Morsi’s candidacy represents a struggle against the remnants of the old regime of ousted leader Hosni Mubarak, who will seek to return to power if Shafiq wins.

Liberals walk out of panel meeting

The results of expat votes came as Egyptian liberals walked out of a meeting June 10 to select members of a panel to write the country’s new Constitution, charging that Islamists were trying to take seats allocated for secular parties.

Brotherhood spokesman Mahmoud Ghozlan said it is a case of the minority party trying to push its agenda on the majority. The walkout could throw the writing of the Constitution, which will lay out the powers of the presidency, into further disarray at a time when uncertainties mar both the course of the presidential run-off election and the legality of the Parliament.