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But his rise underlines the frustration with the revolution felt by many Egyptians. The past 15 months have seen continuous chaos, with a shipwrecked economy, a breakdown in public services, increasing crime and persistent protests that turned into bloody riots. That has left many craving stability.

Nevine George, a 36 year old Christian and government employee, said she voted Shafiq because she didn’t want an new experiment in governing Egypt.

“Even if he’s from old system we don’t need to execute them all,” she said after voting in the Cairo neighborhood of Shubra. “We need management skills and we don’t have to start from scratch.”

Egypt’s Christian minority — about 10 percent of the population of 82 million — overwhelmingly backed him, seeing him as a bullwark against the Islamist Brotherhood. One TV station reported that the entire voting population of one southern village — 4,000 Christians — cast ballot for Shafiq.

Shafiq also rallied former members of Mubarak’s party and of influential and widespread Muslim mystical sects known as Sufis, who fear the more literalist Brotherhood. Analysts said Shafiq has also gained support from the families of security men— as security personnel themselves are not allowed to vote.

In the end, he would have come out on top of Morsi if not for the Brotherhood candidate’s lead in voting by Egyptians living overseas, particularly in Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, though Morsi came out on top, the vote was a blow to the Brotherhood. Their candidate received only half the vote that the group garnered in parliamentary elections late last year when it took nearly 50 percent of the legislature.

Since then, many of those who backed it grew disenchanted. Some voters said they turned against it because it failed to bring any improvements with its hold on parliament. Others were turned off by its seeming determination to monopolize power, excluding others.

In the end, Morsi was left to rely largely on the group’s fiercely loyal and organized base of activists.

Perhaps most surprising was the performance of Sabahi, who had lagged far back in the polls for much of the campaign.

But he surged in the final days before voting began as Egyptians looked for an alternative to both Islamists and the “feloul.” Campaigning on promises to help the poor, Sabahi claimed the mantle of the nationalist, socialist ideology of former President Gamal Abdel-Nasser, who ruled from 1954 to 1970.

“The results reflect that people are searching for a third alternative, those who fear a religious state and those who don’t want Mubarak’s regime to come back,” said Sabahi campaign spokesman Hossam Mounis.

Sabahi dominated in many urban areas, coming in a narrow first in Cairo and Port Said — a hotbed of revolution sentiment. He overpoweringly won in Egypt’s second largest city, the Mediterranean port of Alexandria, doubling Morsi’s showing, even though the city is considered a stronghold of Islamists.

Not far behind him was Abolfotoh, with around 19 percent. A moderate Islamist, Abolfotoh had appealed to a broad spectrum, including Islamists disenchanted with the Brotherhood and liberals.

A major question will be who can draw in their backers. Islamists who backed Abolfotoh are likely to turn to Morsi, despite their mistrust of the Brotherhood. Liberals, leftists and secular voters who rallied behind either Abolfotoh or Sabahi are likely to feel at a loss.

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