Runoff for Egyptian President Set for June

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood says exit polls from the two-day presidential election shows one of its candidates in the lead.

With the vote from the majority of polling stations tallied, Islamist Mohammed Mursi holds an early lead with 25 percent, while former air force chief Ahmed Shafiq, who served as the last foreign minister under the Mubarak regime, trailing by two percentage points.

The second and reportedly more moderate Muslim Brotherhood candidate, Abdel Moneim Abol Fotouh, is in third place so far with 20 percent, while leftist Hamdeen Sabahy, with 19 percent, is in fourth.

Official results will be announced next week, with the runoff scheduled for June 16-17. The interim Egyptian military government will turn over power to the new president on July 1.

If Mursi wins the runoff, the Muslim Brotherhood will be positioned to dominate the country's policy in the legislative and executive branches of government.

Together with the Salafist al-Nour Party, Islamists hold nearly 70 percent of the seats in the upper and lower houses of parliament.

Some of Egypt's secular and Christian residents have expressed deepening concerns about the ramifications of living under Sharia (Islamic) law.

The country's Coptic Christian minority, roughly 10 percent out of its 80 million residents, have suffered increasing persecution at the hands of Islamists.


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