UN HOPES FOR PEACEFUL PRESIDENTIAL RUN-OFF IN EGYPT

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today voiced his strong hope that the final round of Egypt’s presidential elections will proceed this weekend in a peaceful and inclusive atmosphere.

The country’s presidential election process is “a very important part of the transition to greater democracy that the Egyptian people have struggled so patiently and so courageously to achieve,” said a statement issued by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson.

Mohammed Mursi, representing the Muslim Brotherhood, faces ex-prime minister Ahmed Shafiq in this weekend’s run-off poll, which follows the first round of voting last month. It is the first presidential election since the toppling of the long-standing regime of Hosni Mubarak amid popular protests in January 2011.

“The Secretary-General strongly hopes that the final round of the presidential elections will proceed in a peaceful and inclusive atmosphere,” said the statement.

Tensions are reportedly high in the country after the Supreme Court yesterday ruled that last year’s parliamentary vote was unconstitutional, and called for fresh elections.

Mr. Ban noted the “heightened debate and concerns” among Egyptians about the implications of the court ruling, and underscored the UN’s strong support for the country’s transition to fully meet the legitimate expectations of its people.