CAIRO -- With tens of thousands of protesters rallying to support him, the Muslim Brotherhood's candidate for president called on the Egyptian authorities Friday to release the results of last weekend's election as soon as possible and warned against trying to manipulate the "popular will."

The comments by Mohammed Morsi came soon after the ruling military council blamed the fundamentalist Islamic group for fueling tensions in the country by announcing that their candidate won hours after the voting ended instead of waiting for an official announcement. That claim of victory was contested by Morsi's rival, Ahmed Shafiq, ousted President Hosni Mubarak's last prime minister.

The public exchange of blame between the Islamists and the military council signals an escalation of pressure by both sides as Egyptians wait for the electoral commission to release final results from the June 16-17 runoff vote. The official declaration was postponed from Thursday, and no new date has been set. That has set off a wave of accusations of fraud and manipulation aimed at all sides.

Morsi, appearing at a news conference alongside a group of public figures and youth representatives, said a united front is forming against the decisions by the military council.

"We are all in favor of announcing the results and we expect the higher election committee to announce those results as soon as possible and without delay," Morsi said. "The expected results are known to all. We won't accept any manipulation."

In a stern message earlier, the military council blamed the Brotherhood for the tension and confusion that has ensued.

"Announcing the results of the presidential election early, before the official statement, is unjustified and is one of the main reasons behind the division and confusion prevailing on the political scene," said the military statement read on state TV, without naming the Brotherhood.

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