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  1. ITV Report

Violence flares in Cairo over Egyptian election

One of the two men vying to become the Egyptian president has had his campaign headquarters set on fire during a night of violence and unrest in Cairo.

Protesters smashed windows, threw out campaign signs and tore up posters from the office of ex-premier Ahmed Shafiq, who will go head-to-head with the Muslim Brotherhood's candidate Mohammed Morsi in the June 16 and 17 election run-off.

Shafiq supporters blamed members of the powerful Muslim Brotherhood for the attack. One man outside the ransacked building said:

What it is going on? It's a crime. They are criminals. This is not freedom.

It was earlier announced that the two men had topped the initial Egyptian vote but there was very little to separate them.

  • Morsi received close to 5.8 million votes, or almost 25 percent.
  • Shafiq garnered 5.5 million votes, or nearly 24 percent.

Finishing third was leftist candidate Hamdeen Sabahi with 4.8 million votes, or about 21 percent.

Soon after the results were announced, several hundred Sabahi supporters gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square, the birthplace of last year's uprising, chanting slogans against the military, Morsi and Shafiq.

Protesters gather at Tahrir Square during a protest against presidential candidates Mohamed Mursi and Ahmed Shafiq. Credit: Mohamed Abd El Ghany / Reuters

None of the 13 candidates had been expected to get the more than 50 percent of the vote needed to win outright.

Morsi's top finish was a surprisingly strong showing, because he was widely viewed as a weak candidate and because the Brotherhood's popularity has eroded recently due to a series of errors.

Shafiq is widely viewed by opponents as an extension of the regime of ousted president Hosni Mubarak, and the Morsi-Shafiq runoff is the most polarising contest possible.