Sunday, 20 May 2012 10:45 AM
© 2012 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.
Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood planned a mass climax to its presidential campaign on Sunday, hoping to sway undecided voters and clinch victory in this week’s election when Egyptians will choose their leader freely for the first time.On the last day of official campaigning, the Brotherhood told Egyptians to “book your place anywhere in Egypt” for evening rallies in support of its candidate Mohamed Mursi.
Brotherhood supporters seem unfazed by surveys that show their unfancied contender trailing rivals who entered the race earlier and are spending heavily in the dash for votes.
In one poll published last week in al-Masry al-Youm newspaper, Mursi was last of the four front-runners but 37 percent of the people surveyed were yet to make up their minds.
The polls, a relative novelty in Egypt, are admittedly unreliable and the large cohort of undecided voters further complicates any effort to pick a winner in the country’s first genuinely contested presidential election.
“Egyptians are a religious people and Mursi appears to be a man of God,” said Farag Ibrahim, a 44-year-old in the Nile Delta town of Mansoura. “That is why I will vote for him, and because I think many others will too, and he will win.”
With a grassroots network stretching into Egypt’s smallest villages, the Muslim Brotherhood has consolidated its influence since Hosni Mubarak’s overthrow in last year’s popular uprising.