Election Day

So now is the moment of truth. The results of Egypt’s presidential elections are going to be announced today at 3 p.m. (about forty five minutes!) after being delayed earlier this week.

Everyone is on edge. Our classes at Alexandria University, which started yesterday, ended early so that we could be ferried back to our hotel in cabs. The walk from the university  is only 15 minutes, so it’s kind of crazy that we couldn’t even walk back home. We’ve been confined to our hotel for the remainder of the day, and the traffic on the Corniche (the road along the waterfront that runs past our hotel) is all moving East, away from Al Ibrahim Mosque, where most of the protesters are. Now we’re sitting in the hotel lobby, eating ful, falafel and shwarma and watching Arabic news (which we don’t understand). An image of the mosque in Alex shows efigies of Mubarak and SCAF officials in orange jumpsuits hanging from a streetlight.

It’s not really clear exactly what’s going to happen. I have been expecting the government to announce Shafik as the winner — though it’s far more likely that Morsi actually had the majority of votes. The atmosphere is tense, a feeling that seems to have arisen overnight. I went running this morning with three of the guys in the program, and it seemed like any other day; smoggy and hot. I barely even got any questionable looks or calls of “Welcome to Egypt.” There was no sense of mounting tension, not then, not during our walk to the university. My friend Sarah, with whom I stayed while in Cairo, said that last night Tahrir was like a giant party. But now the apprehension is tangible. The people being interviewed on TV are speaking in urgent tones verging on shouting, though I can’t tell what they’re saying. The protesters in Tahrir and outside Al Ibrahim are definitely shouting.

That’s all the news there is for now. I’ll report back later when the results are announced, insha’allah.

Ma salama.

Update — 4:45 pm: Morsi was declared the winner (after SPEC chief Farouk Sultan waxed philosophical about the the election process for almost an hour and a half). You could hear a huge cheer go up outside as soon as the result was announced. There’s jubilation in the streets of Alexandria.   

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