Ahead of Cairo rally, Islamists claim presidency

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood staked its claim to the presidency and prepared a rally on Tuesday against moves to curb the powers of the office by generals whose Western allies share unease over political Islam but accuse the army of abusing hopes for democracy.

With Sunday’s presidential election result still unannounced, both Islamists and army, however, seemed ready to step back from a clash neither wants and which dismays Egyptians who yearn for an end to the political paralysis and uncertainty wrecking the economy.

The United States, which funds, arms and trains the Middle East's biggest army to the tune of $1.3 billion a year, rebuked Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) on Monday and urged it to hand over to civilians.

Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Tuesday that Britain too was “concerned”, including about new military powers to detain civilians: “This is a critical moment in the process towards democratic, civilian-led government in Egypt,” he said.

“It is vital that the transition leads to legitimate, accountable and democratic governance.”

The election committee refuses to offer any results from the weekend’s presidential run-off until Thursday. The Brotherhood again offered a detailed national count giving its candidate, Mohamed Morsy, a comfortable win by 52 percent to 48 over former general Ahmed Shafik, Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister.

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