Egyptians are choosing between a conservative Islamist and Hosni Mubarak’s ex-prime minister in a second day of a presidential runoff that has been overshadowed by the domination of the country’s military.
Going head-to-head in the runoff are Ahmed Shafiq, a longtime friend and self-confessed admirer of Mubarak, and Mohammed Morsi of the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood.
“We have to vote because these elections are historic,” said Amr Omar, voting in Cairo, who said he was a revolutionary youth activist. “I will vote for Morsy… Even if it means electing the hypocritical Islamists, we must break the vicious cycle of Mubarak’s police state.”
A gunfight killed two in Cairo overnight, according to local media. The reports blamed a dispute between street vendors and there was no apparent connection to the vote, which saw little trouble on Saturday despite mutual accusations of fraud. Observers reported only minor and scattered breaches.
The Saturday-Sunday vote followed a week of political drama in which the military announced de facto martial rule and judges appointed by Mubarak before his ouster dissolved the freely elected, Islamist-dominated parliament.
The generals who took over from Mubarak 16 months ago are expected this week to spell out the powers of the new president and appoint a 100-member panel to draft a new constitution.
Turnout at polling stations in several areas seemed lower on Saturday than during the first round. Polls re-opened at 8 am on Sunday (0600 GMT).
“I am on my way to vote and I’ll spoil my ballot. I’ll cross out both Morsy and Shafiq because neither deserve to be president,” said 40-year-old shop owner Saleh Ashour in Cairo.
A win for Shafiq, 70, who says he has learned the lessons of the revolt and offers security, prosperity and religious tolerance, may prompt Islamist claims of Mubarak-style vote-rigging and street protests by the disillusioned urban youths who made Cairo’s Tahrir Square their battleground last year.
“The Egyptian people have chosen freedom and are practicing democracy,” Morsy said as he cast his vote on Saturday. “The Egyptian people will not back down and I will lead them, God willing, towards stability and retribution.”
Shafiq, a former fighter pilot and air force chief whose second finish to Morsy in the first round capped a rapid ascent from rank outsider status, made little comment as he voted.