Cairo: Egyptian authorities may delay the announcement of the winner in the Presidential runoff, which had been expected on Thursday, because of a large number of complaints filed by the two candidates, a senior Election Commission official said.
If the electoral commission does delay the official declaration of a winner, it will only heighten tensions gripping the country after both candidates claimed victory.
The camp of ousted leader Hosni Mubarak`s last prime minister Ahmed Shafiq says he won with 51.5 per cent of the vote while the campaign of Islamist Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood says he got 52 per cent to defeat Shafiq with 48 per cent.
Adding to the potentially explosive dispute over the election is the latest health scare of the 84-year-old Mubarak, who was ousted in Egypt`s uprising last year and is now serving a life sentence in prison.
Already, the rival claims have injected a new irritant into Egypt`s worsening political crisis with less than two weeks left before the ruling military council that took over from Mubarak 16 months ago was scheduled to hand over power to an elected president.
The ruling generals have issued amendments and additions to a constitutional declaration that tightened their grip on power. The decree stripped the next president of significant powers and gave the military control over the national budget and the drafting of a new and permanent constitution.
The declaration came just days after judges appointed by Mubarak before his ouster ruled to dissolve the Islamist- dominated parliament on the grounds that the law governing its election some six months ago breached the principle of equality.
Tens of thousands of Islamists from the Brotherhood and its allies staged a protest in central Cairo last night to denounce the declaration and the dissolution of Parliament.
But some saw the rally more as a celebration of Morsi`s victory and a show of force in the face of the rival victory claim made by Shafiq, a former commander of the air force and a longtime friend and admirer of Mubarak. Many among the protesters were chanting for Morsi and carrying his portraits.
The election official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media, said the commission was looking into scores of complaints by Morsi and Shafiq.
Security officials said several employees of the state press, where election ballots were printed, were being questioned by prosecutors over allegations that thousands of the ballots were marked in favour of Morsi before they were sent to polling centres known to be run by officials sympathetic to the Brotherhood.