Calls to boycott get louder on eve of Egypt vote

June 15, 2012

By Shaimaa Fayed, Reuters

CAIRO | Ahmed Ali, a 44-year-old janitor, plans to mark a red “X” across the names of both candidates in Egypt’s presidential run-off when he goes to vote this week.

He is part of a broader political trend planning either to boycott the election or spoil ballots to protest against a first-round result that produced a run-off between ousted President Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister and a Muslim Brotherhood candidate. Together, the pair obtained less than half the votes cast.

The movement’s strength suggests the political turmoil since Mubarak was toppled 16 months ago may continue in post-election Egypt, whether the winner is former air force commander Ahmed Shafik or the Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsy.

“I am angry,” said Ali. “Many Egyptians died in the uprising last year and in the end we are being forced to choose between the old corrupt regime we overthrew and a movement that has its own Islamist agenda. I will spoil my ballot.”

That anger has only grown after a ruling on Thursday by the Supreme Constitutional Court to let Shafik stay in the race. The Islamist-led parliament had passed a law that would have blocked election bids by top Mubarak-era officials. That law was overturned.

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