• Former PM Ahmed Shafiq attacked after casting his vote
• Establishment candidates polling well
• Turnout picked up after a slow start
Speaking to CNN, he said: "We don't like it but we will do the best we can. We have never accepted this restriction before ... We don't like it but we had to comply or refuse to participate. I chose to participate."
We might be seeing some campaign trickery afoot as the vote gets closer, Abdel-Rahman Hussein says in an email from Cairo.
Various exit polls released by the campaigns are placing their candidates in a favourable light. And now, a statement by Amr Moussa released by the Moussa campaign Twitter feed in which he said, "I am waiting for the withdrawal of General Ahmed Shafiq" – an insinuation that Shafiq will pull out in favour of Moussa.
تصريح عمرو موسى لرصد: أنا في إنتظار تنازل الفريق أحمد شفيق
— Amre Moussa Campaign (@moussacampaign) May 24, 2012
Already that piece of news has reverberated somewhat and some believe that Shafiq is about to do so. Only took twenty four hours for campaigns to get ... erm ... "sophisticated".
first meeting of the newly-elected parliament. Members were sworn in today (with the exception of a couple who arrived late and didn't bother to take the oath, according to Shakeeb al-Jabri who has been following the proceedings).Syria: While attention is focused on Egypt, we probably ought to note a less interesting event in Syria: the
The MPs have now elected a Baathist speaker and deputy speaker:
— Shakeeb Al-Jabri (@LeShaque) May 24, 2012
We had been expecting President Assad to give one of his lengthy speeches to parliament, but it now seems that may not happen today.
Finding your name on the voters' lists can be a bit tricky if you are called Mohammed.
— Paul Danahar (@pdanahar) May 24, 2012
But Jack warns of the perils of reading too much into what the campaigns are saying at this stage.
First he relates what the tea leaves are currently showing:
Mohammed Morsi people's are saying that so far he is winning. We don't know what they are basing that on, apart from the fact that they do have probably the most organised get-out-the-vote system. But that does not mean they are necessarily keen to tell us the truth. They are currently saying that Morsi has the largest share of the vote, followed by Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh. Abul Fotouh's camp have also suggested that.
Amr Moussa's camp refuses to comment on its own internal polling ... people from the Moussa campaign are coming across as quite depressed and quite worried.
Now the health warning:
All of these estimates about how well the campaigns are doing - we have got to take them with a pinch of salt. First, we've still got seven or eight hours of polling today. Once the sun goes down turnout will pick up and we don't know which way it will fall. And the campaigns all have a vested interest in projecting the result one way or another. Amr Moussa, for example yesterday within the first couple of hours, put out a statement saying the Brotherhood were winning but that he was second, which was seen as a very tactical move to scare his base into thinking that the Brotherhood were about to storm to victory, and encourage them to come out and back Moussa in large numbers to prevent that happening.
We may not have to wait quite as long as we thought to find out which campaign is right. Counting will begin half an hour after polling closes, which could mean a result by Saturday or even Friday, Jack says.
As Jack mentioned here's the Shafiq-supporting barber, who like many sees no contradiction between backing the revolution and the former prime minister.
Yusuf was born on Feb 11 last year, the day Mubarak fell. "Huwwa ibn al-sawra," beamed his dad - who voted Shafiq... twitter.com/hackneylad/sta…
— Jack Shenker (@hackneylad) May 23, 2012
Clearer footage has emerged of Ahmed Shafiq being pelted with shoes outside a polling station in Cairo.
The former prime minister still appears to be polling well, according to the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party.
FJP representative in Dar al-Salaam told the Egyptian Independent: "The preliminary sorting of Wednesday was in favour of Mohammed Morsi and Ahmed Shafiq".
— Jailan Zayan (@jazayan) May 24, 2012
Egyptian Centre for Women's Rights (ECWR) has been keeping an eye open for irregularities on the female side. Women voters are aware of their rights, it says, and in some cases they have taken "positive steps" to halt violations.With polling stations operating separate queues for men and women, the
Campaigning is officially banned now that voting is under way but the ECWR reports a number of instances of illicit campaigning – most of them by supporters of Mohammed Mursi and Ahmed Shafiq. Here are some examples:
• In Abdeen district (Cairo governorate) in front of El Wihda El Wataniya School, the electoral silence law was violated when the female supporters of candidate Ahmed Shafiq distributed publications.
• A severe violation took place when the mosques' microphones invited voters to vote for candidate Ahmed Shafiq in Borg Nour El Arab village – Sinbillaween – Daqahliya governorate.
• Muslim brotherhood women tried to convince the female voters that you will either vote for Dr Mursi or you will be an enemy of Islam in front of the "El Maahad El Namoozagy"/El Darasat district in Mansoura.
Among other reported irregularities:
• In El Giza governorate, El Tarbiya El Fikrya school's polling centre voting was suspended, as there were disputes between the central security forces and female voters.
• In a severe violation of the law, monaqaba women were allowed to vote in polling stations number 5 and 6 in El Thanawya Scondary school for girls and Arab El Attawlah in Sohag governorate without checking their faces before letting them vote.
• In El Manyal preparatory school for girls, one of the female voters found out that her dead husband is on the voters' list.
The presidential electoral commission has announced that it will hold a press conference tonight at 8pm central Cairo.
The results of the poll are not expected until next Tuesday. Reliable exit polls are not likely, but there may be indications from campaign organisers on how they think their respective candidates have fared.
Straws in the wind from day one point to success for the Muslim Brotherhood's candidate Mohammed Morsi.
Egyptian blogger Mostafa El-Hoshy has a post, with many health warnings, on the earlier exit polls ("very loose use of the word").
Here's the key sentence: "The early releases could be politically motivated (i.e. intended to influence the vote)."
A female member of Ahmed Shafiq's campaign team went into labour yesterday while observing at a polling station in Minya, Ahram Online reports.
Kamelia El-Sayed Ibrahim gave birth to a boy and named him Shafiq in honour of the would-be president.
The election is exposing generational divides within families, according to blogger Big Pharaoh
An interesting thing about the #EgyElections is that parents and their children vote for completely different candidates.
— The Big Pharaoh (@TheBigPharaoh) May 24, 2012
Egyptians have taken to Twitter to express frustration at their parents' choices for president.
@MohAbdElHamid my mom n dad n grandmother voted for shafiq 3aaaaaaaa
— Maggie Osama (@maggieosama) May 24, 2012
@MohAbdElHamid Mom voted for Moussa. Moms of two other friends voted for Moussa two.
— Mohamed Abdelfattah (@mfatta7) May 24, 2012
— Mohamed Abd El-Hamid (@MohAbdElHamid) May 24, 2012
Hannan Feteilha, 48, says:
I feel comfortable and happy that for the first time my vote is important. God willing, everything will be okay. I'm very optimistic. I voted for Amr Moussa.
Riham Mustafa, 20 says:
I thank God for the opportunity [to elect our president]. I thought the day would never come. I'm optimistic. I voted for Abul Fotouh but I'll be happy with the majority. We all need to work to make Egypt better.
the candidacy of former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq exposes deep divisions in Egypt, Ian Black says in an audio reports from Cairo.
People who support [Shafiq], and he does seem to be getting a lot of votes - although that is anecdotal - say he is a capable man with a track record of achieving things with a military background, and he's the sort of person we need to bring stability to this country across a broad front. His critics, and they are very vociferous, say this is the worst example of somebody who is a remnant - a feloul - of the old regime. And how could it be that after all the efforts and sacrifices of the revolution that Egypt could end up being ruled by somebody who remains so against it? People are very angry on this point.
Revolutionaries would rather vote for Islamist candidates, despite profound differences with them, than accept Ahmed Shafiq, Ian says.
If the run off turned out to between Shafiq, from the old regime, and Morsi, from the Muslim Brotherhood, you would have the most polarised possible confrontation that would reflect the deepest divisions in Egyptian society ... It is extraordinary that after everything that happened in the revolution there are still millions of people who hark back to the sort of stability that they associate to the Mubarak era. But there are vast numbers who want to see something new and different ...
A run off between Shafiq and Morsi would force people who supported the revolution to make very difficult decisions. Some of the people I spoke to yesterday, who were revolutionaries and liberals and hostile to Islamists, said they would rather vote for a Muslim Brotherhood president than someone who is such a blatant representative of the old regime.
(all times BST) Welcome to Middle East Live. Polls have just opened for the second day of voting in Egypt's historic presidential elections. Once again we will be focusing most of our attention on the vote. Yesterday Egypt witnessed a taste of the kind of convulsions that many fear if the establishment candidate Ahmed Shafiq makes it to the run off - now considered a distinct possibility.
Here's a round of the latest developments:
Protesters were filmed trying to beat Shafiq, in some cases with their shoes, as he was ushered into his car, Storyful reports.
• The Egyptian blogger Zeinobia says the voting experience was bitter sweet, because of her concerns about the likely outcome. After voting for Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh she wrote:
I should be happy and proud , well I am honest person and since early mornings the news coming from around the country showed a rise for Ahmed Shafiq and Mohamed Morsi [the Muslim Brotherhood's candidate] especially. I want the best for my country and I am terrified from the results. I do not want Ahmed Shafiq or Mohamed Morsi to become the first democratically elected in the country. It is too much for me.
She also compiled this Flickr slide show of the voting experience.
Informed sources, however, say the runoff is likely to feature two out of three frontrunners, namely, Morsi, [Amr] Moussa [former foreign minister] or Shafiq.
"Most probably, it will be Morsi and Moussa [in the runoff round], but those who underestimate Shafiq – and the volume and nature of support he is getting – could be in for a big surprise," said one official.
Recent reports, the same official said, put the Brotherhood's Mursi at the head of the race.
• Turnout was initially low but picked up by the evening when polling was extended to cope with the voting queues. Voters and election monitors said they were encouraged by the strong turnout, the enthusiasm among those casting ballots and the orderly way in which polling stations were run, the Washington Post reports.
Security was tight, with machine-gun toting soldiers, red-bereted military policemen, Amn al-Markazi (central security services) officers in black uniforms and regular policemen in white and gold braid all deployed on the streets.
Judges overseeing polling stations were flown to remote areas by military aircraft. Monitors – including the former US president Jimmy Carter and his team – were on hand to ensure the process was free and fair, though Egyptian observers said some voters admitted to receiving cash and food gifts from the Shafiq and Morsi camps.
"It looks quite good," pronounced Radwa Darwish, of the Shayfeenkom election watchdog.
Different presidential candidates would likely have different approaches. Amr Moussa, for example, has no natural power base and would therefore probably seek to reinforce the authority of the presidency – against the trend of revolutionary demands. But an Islamist winner would clearly find it easier to work with MPs. Overall expectations of change, many fear, could be dangerously high.
• The military probably does not need to engage in widespread rigging or fraud to remain autonomous and immune from civilian prosecution, says Elijah Zarwan, senior policy fellow for the European Council on Foreign Relations, writing in Foreign Policy magazine.
A large segment of the population was never sold on the "revolution" -- as it is almost universally called here -- in the first place. Afraid of chaos, economic hardship, bloodshed, and religious zealotry, they sat out the 18-day uprising, watching state television. They have found little in the events of the past year to allay their fears. A few had a stake in the status quo. Far more, raised in an educational system that rewards verbatim regurgitation of authoritative sources, take their opinions from the broadcasts and pages of the state media. Moreover, as one senior Egyptian politician recently observed, an overlapping segment of the population can easily support the Islamists and the military.
• The UN's security council has been left redundant by its failure to take action against Bashar al-Assad's brutal crackdown against dissent in Syria, according to Amnesty International in its global human rights report. It criticised Russia and China for using their leverage on the council "to forestall effective action on Syria". Salil Shetty, secretary general of Amnesty said:
There is a clear and compelling case for the situation in Syria to be referred to the International Criminal Court for investigation of crimes against humanity. The determination of some UN Security Council members to shield Syria at any cost leaves accountability for these crimes elusive and is a betrayal of the Syrian people.
• The opposition Syrian National Council has accepted the resignation of its controversial leader Burhan Ghalioun, (pictured) the Telegraph reports. In a statement issued at the end of a two-day meeting in Istanbul, the SNC said it had "decided to accept the resignation and to ask the council president to pursue his work until the election of a new president at a meeting on 9-10 June".
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INC- Network of Local Radio Stations in cooperation with in total 15 local radio stations from Kosovo broadcasting in Serbian language and five local radio stations in Serbia including Radio Presheva, Albanian local broadcaster, with the support, of BTD, Austrian.., KFOS Soros Fund and NED, in the period of July-September 2011, produced and broadcast weekly shows titled The Bridge, Prishtina - Belgrade Civil Dialogue which as the main objective had promotion of ethnic tolerance, intra-ethnic and regional cooperation between Albanians and Serbs i.e. Kosovo and Serbia. The motivation for the initiation and then implementation of this unique project which involved in total 15 local broadcasters from Kosovo and Serbia was the beginning of the technical dialogue between two capitols with the mediation of European Union. As the opinion is aware these ongoing talks as the main objective had solving of issues that remains an obstacle in normalization of relations between two capitols. The project was unique for couple of reasons which will be elaborated in this report, however we need to underline here the fact that ‘The Bridge” is the first project which saw such close cooperation and joint work between local broadcasters from Kosovo and Serbia, i.e. for the first time local broadcasters from these two countries together produced and broadcasted same weekly shows, a fact that in itself is an indicator of the conclusion that this project was unique and that was successful in its implementation.