Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Egypt delays announcing winner of election

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CAIRO, Egypt -- Authorities delayed the announcement of the winner of Egypt's presidential election, which had been expected today, and gave no date for a decision, hiking tension as allegations of fraud swirled and each candidate declared he was the victor.

Amid the atmosphere of political confusion, the Muslim Brotherhood claimed there was an organized campaign of allegations against it to mar the election and keep its candidate, Mohammed Morsi, out of the presidency. The accusation raises temperatures and the possibility of a backlash from the Brotherhood if its rival -- former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq -- is declared the winner.

On top of the potentially explosive dispute over the election is murkiness over the latest health scare of the 84-year-old former president, Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted in Egypt's uprising last year and is now serving a life sentence in prison.

Overnight, state media reported he suffered a stroke and was put on life support. He was transferred to a military hospital from the Cairo prison hospital where he has been kept since his June 2 conviction and sentencing for failing to stop the killing of protesters during the uprising.

Security officials said Wednesday he was in a coma but off life support and his heart and other vital organs were functioning. But the ambiguity over his condition has fuelled skepticism among the public, where many already suspect reports of his deteriorating condition are merely a pretext by security and military officials sympathetic to the former boss to get him out of prison to a more comfortable facility.

In a series of swift moves the past week, the ruling generals have cornered for themselves sweeping powers that effectively subordinate the next president and severely limit his capability for independent action.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 21, 2012 A13

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