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Egypt Waits For Election Results In Presidental Run Off

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Egypt is waiting anxiously for the results of a landmark election amid fears the announcement could provoke violent clashes.

Tanks could be seen outside the Cairo election commission headquarters and security is on high alert as the commission hears appeals from the two presidential candidates.

Both the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohammed Morsi and Ahmed Shafiq, who served as Prime Minister under deposed leader Hosni Mubarak, have projected victory.

Whichever candidate wins has the historic privilege of being Egypt's first democratically elected leader.

However tension between both parties overshadows the announcement. Thousands of Morsi's supporters spent the night in Tahir Square, and there are fears that the crowds will become violent if the Islamist leader is not elected.

There is also apprehension over whether Egypt's ruling military council will be willing to hand over power to the incoming president.

A "million man march" was arranged by the Muslim brotherhood after the ruling military council granted itself all-pervasive new powers, a move which the Islamist party described as a "military coup."

The new decrees issued by Supreme Council of Armed Forces (Scaf) allow the military total control over the country's legislation, army and budget. Scaf also insist that new parliamentary elections cannot be held until a constitution is agreed.

Anxiety over the possibility that the military was reluctant to hand power over to the elected president was already brewing after the Supreme Court dissolved parliament last week.

Foreign Secretary William Hague said in a statement on Tuesday that he was concerned by recent announcements of "the dissolution of parliament and the reintroduction of powers of arrest and detention for the military.

"The process of drafting a new, inclusive constitution and the holding of new parliamentary elections should be taken forward as soon as possible" he added.

Similarly Washington aired its "deep concern" over the developments and called on the army to hand over "full power" to civilians.

A satirical headline in independent newspaper al-Masry al-Youm read "Military Transfers Power - to Military," reports Reuters, scorning any official announcement by the Scaf.

The reality is that whoever wins, the new leader will be forced to work under the military council who have imposed restrictions on presidential power, leading some commentators to declare that the election has been hijacked by a military coup. On Twitter, former UN diplomat Mohamed ElBaradei described the move as a "setback for democracy".