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Egypt postpones election results

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 3:09 PM EST, Thu December 1, 2011
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Voters had gathered in hopes of learning the results
  • Egypt's new PM vows to appoint three youths and two women to the cabinet
  • An advisory board of 30 political figures will consult with military leaders
  • Two Islamist parties claim a lead in ballot counting

Cairo (CNN) -- The release of results in the first round of voting from Egypt's historic election are being postponed, the country's military rulers said Thursday.

The announcement will come Friday or Saturday, said Amir Imam, spokesman for the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.

Two Islamist parties, the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Noor Salafi, have claimed a lead in ballot counting, but officials are tight-lipped about any results.

The first voting since the fall of President Hosni Mubarak took place Monday and Tuesday, the first in a multi-step process to pick members of the lower house of Parliament.

Those lawmakers will be tasked with drafting a new constitution.

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This week marked the first time some Egyptians -- young and old -- had ever cast ballots after three decades of rule under Mubarak, who was ousted in February after weeks of protests.

Some voters and human rights activists expressed hope that their votes would actually count for the first time, though some boycotted the elections saying they don't trust the voting will be free and fair.

Many Egyptians had gathered in public places Thursday, looking forward to hearing and discussing the results of the elections, and they were disappointed when word came down about the delay.

"I think it's bad," said one young man. "I think maybe some problems that happened, they don't want to tell us about."

But another young voter said she believes the authorities simply "wanted more time to sort out things... They don't want to rush things up, they want something to be accurate."

It's quite possible that the Islamist parties did gain a majority in the initial voting. The Muslim Brotherhood has been active for years, working with poor families and providing social services.

Some voters who supported those parties tell CNN they want to give those groups a chance but will also hold them accountable in another parliamentary election within a few years.

If the Islamist parties win the majority, key questions arise about how they will use their strength -- particularly whether Christians and secularists will have their interests recognized as well, CNN's Jim Clancy reported from Cairo.

It is "of vital interest to people to see that all voices are combined," Clancy said.

In advance of the election, there were reports of some illegal campaigning taking place, with the Egyptian Association of Human Rights alleging some cases of vote-buying in the city of Alexandria.

The elections for the lower house of Parliament are scheduled to take place in three stages, based on geography. The last of the three stages is set to take place in January.

Upper house elections will run between January and March.

Presidential elections will be held by June, according to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. Military leaders have said they will hand over power to a new government when one is elected, but many Egyptians say they don't trust the council and fear the military will cling to power.

Kamal Ganzouri, who last week retook the post of prime minister which he had held from 1996 to 1999, announced details of his plans for a new government Thursday.

The government will include two ministers who were in place before the revolution that ousted Mubarak in February; eight to 10 ministers from the government of Esam Sharaf, who was prime minister until he and his government resigned two weeks ago; and ministers Ganzouri will appoint himself. "I seek to appoint three youths on the next cabinet and two women," he said.

An advisory board of 30 political figures has been created that will meet with the Supreme Council at least once a month to consult, said Imam, spokesman for the armed forces. Among them are presidential candidates Amr Moussa and Mohamed Selim El-Awa, Imam said.

During the past two weeks, at least 42 people have been killed in clashes, as protesters called for an immediate end to military rule. An additional 3,250 have been wounded, according to the Health Ministry.

In a message posted Thursday on its Facebook page, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces vowed not to prosecute citizens in military courts and stressed the importance of members of the revolution and all Egyptians working together to achieve stability and complete the transition.

CNN's Jim Clancy and Josh Levs and journalists Mohamed Fadel Fahmy and James Partington contributed to this report.

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