Egypt: Mursi and Shafiq in presidential run-off

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Egypt: Mursi and Shafiq in presidential run-off

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An Islamist and a former prime minister are through to the run-off of Egypt’s landmark presidential elections.

Official results announced on Monday show the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Mursi came out on top in the first round, notching up 24.3 percent of the votes.

His rival, Ahmed Shafiq – who served under ousted president Hosni Mubarak – was close behind, coming away with a 23.3 percent share.

Both candidates failed to get enough support to clinch the presidency in the first round.

Now there is an agonising dilemma for voters. Many are wary of Islamist rule, but there is also equal concern about the prospect of returning to a military-backed system. Around half of the first round votes went to candidates somewhere in the middle ground.

Mursi appeals to Egyptians keen for Islamists to hold power in a deeply religious country.

Shafiq is viewed by his backers as someone who can bring order and protect the economy.

Voters will go back to the polls in mid June. The military council has pledged to hand over to the new president on 1 July.