Muslim Brotherhood's presidential candidate Mohamed Morsy 37.
(photo credit:Suhaib Salem / Reuters)
Thousands of Muslim Brotherhood supporters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square cheered on
Sunday afternoon as Egypt’s election commission declared Mohamed Morsy the
winner of the country’s tightly contested presidential runoff
The Brotherhood candidate was elected with 51.73 percent of the
vote or 13,230,131 of a total 25,577,511 valid votes cast.
Hosni Mubarak, who was overthrown after a popular uprising in February 2011. The
20-strong Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) then took power of the
largest Arab nation.
SCAF, which has ruled since then, has this month
curbed the powers of the presidency – meaning the head of state will have to
work closely with the army on a planned democratic constitution. SCAF promised
to hand over power to the democratically elected government after this month’s
elections, but recent moves to expand the military’s authority have led to
concerns that the junta will not do so.
Farouq Sultan, head of the
Egyptian election commission, announced the results at 5:30 p.m. Cairo time in a
press conference at the State Information Service headquarters in Nasr City.
Morsy beat his opponent, former Mubarak prime minister Ahmed Shafik, by over
three percentage points.
Israel extended a supportive hand to Egypt’s new
leader soon after the results were announced, with the Prime Minister’s Office
saying that Israel “looks forward to continuing cooperation with the Egyptian
government on the basis of the peace treaty between the two countries, which is
a joint interest of both peoples and contributes to regional
Morsy, 60, earned a doctorate from the University of Southern
California and was a member of the Brotherhood’s guidance office for years,
serving time in jail under Mubarak. He entered politics in 2011, when the
Brotherhood founded the Freedom and Justice Party.
Shafik, a 70-year-old
former air force commander who later served as civil aviation minister, was
appointed Mubarak’s prime minister in January 2011 after the Egyptian
Revolution, but resigned a month later.
The thousands of Brotherhood
supporters in Tahrir Square greeted the dramatic victory by chanting “Allahu
Akbar!” and waving national flags.
“Say! Don’t fear! The military must
go!” the crowds chanted.
Shafik offered no immediate reaction.
has said he would offer to serve in a Morsy administration.
Iran congratulates Egyptians for 'Islamic Awakening'
Foreign Ministry congratulated Egyptians on Sunday for the victory of Morsy in
the country’s first free presidential election and said the country was in the
final stages of an “Islamic Awakening.”
“The revolutionary movement of
the Egyptian people... is in its final stages of the Islamic Awakening and a new
era of change in the Middle East,” the ministry said in a statement on the
Iranian Students’ News Agency.
The United States congratulated Morsy for
his “milestone” victory and urged the Muslim Brotherhood leader to form his
government carefully and respect the right of all Egyptians as he takes
“We congratulate the Egyptian people for this milestone in their
transition to democracy,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement,
calling on the new leader to ensure Egypt remains “a pillar of regional peace,
security and stability.”
“We believe that it is important for
president-elect Morsy to take steps at this historic time to advance national
unity by reaching out to all parties and constituencies in consultations about
the formation of a new government,” Carney said. He stressed the need for
respect of the rights of all Egyptians, including women and religious minorities
like Coptic Christians.
Shafik supporters react angrily
Meanwhile, independent daily Al- Masry Al-Youm
reported that after the commission declared Morsy the winner, hundreds of Shafik
supporters who had gathered in Nasr City chanted slogans including “False,
false” and “The people want Shafik.” Some smashed the window of a car showing a
Morsy campaign poster, the paper reported.
A spokesman for Morsy said:
“This is a testament to the resolve of the Egyptian people to make their voice
In a press conference immediately after the announcement, a Morsy
campaign spokesman said the newly elected president’s supporters would not leave
Tahrir Square until the revolution was completed.
Shortly after the
announcement, SCAF head Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi moved to
congratulate Morsy on his election victory.
However, SCAF will retain
control of the biggest army in the Middle East, whose closest ally is the United
Morsy has said he will respect international treaties, notably
the one signed with Israel in 1979, on which much US aid
“President Morsy will struggle to control the levers of state,”
Elijah Zarwan, senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign
Relations, said in Cairo. “He will likely face foot-dragging and perhaps
outright attempts to undermine his initiatives from key
“Faced with such resistance, frustration may tempt him
fall into the trap of attempting to throw his new weight around,” Zarwan told
Reuters. “This would be a mistake. His challenge is to lead a bitterly divided,
fearful and angry population toward a peaceful democratic outcome, without
becoming a reviled scapegoat for continued military rule.”
Christians remain suspicious of Islamist president
remain over the extent to which Morsy will operate independently of other
Brotherhood leaders once in office; his manifesto was drawn up by the group’s
policy-makers. The role Khairat al-Shater – the Brotherhood’s original candidate
before disqualification by the election commission – might play has also been a
focus of the debate in Egypt.
“I will treat everyone equally and be a
servant of the Egyptian people,” Morsy said at his campaign headquarters in
Cairo shortly after polling ended last Sunday, a week before his victory was
confirmed by the Mubarak-era judicial body overseeing the vote.
Egyptians, not least the Christian minority, remain suspicious of Morsy and even
more so of the group he represents. Anti-Brotherhood sentiment, fueled by both a
hostile media and some of the group’s policies, has soared in recent
Meanwhile, in several cities in the province of Minya south of
Cairo, hundreds of people took to the streets to celebrate Morsy’s victory,
Al-Ahram weekly reported on Sunday evening, with many of the marches organized
by the Brotherhood. Minya has one of the country’s highest Coptic Christian
populations, among whom defeated candidate Shafik was favored.
had expected to learn the runoff results last week, but the election commission
announced Thursday it was postponing the announcement because of challenges made
by both candidates’ campaigns. On Sunday morning, the commission said it had
probed those appeals, and had followed up investigations into claims of
Even before the results were announced Sunday, Morsy had
already claimed to be the successor to the ousted president’s
Tensions grew Sunday as Egyptians waited to hear the
On Sunday morning, Al-Masry Al- Youm led with the headline “Egypt
awaits a president – and braces for ‘the worst,’” while Al-Watan daily wrote:
“The Brotherhood sets the stage for Morsy, and an intense security alert in case
of a Shafik victory.”
Egyptian social media reaches a fever pitch
Earlier on Sunday, Egypt’s interim prime minister,
Kamal al-Ganzouri, dismissed as rumors recent reports that former vice president
and former spy chief Omar Suleiman and several prominent businessmen had left
Egypt in the case that Morsy came to power.
According to a report in
Al-Ahram, Ganzouri told reporters that his interim government will hand over
power on June 30, when the new president creates a cabinet.
build-up to the announcement, Egyptian social media reached a fever pitch with
frantic tweets about army helicopters hovering over Cairo, fears the streets
would descend into chaos post-announcement and reports the the country’s phone
lines were jammed.
Twitter user Gigi Ibrahim tweeted that shops had
closed in fear of a backlash, and blamed the “abnormal” situation on deliberate
fear-mongering by SCAF.
Meanwhile, on his official Facebook campaign
page, Shafik posted photographs of protesters in Tahrir Square with the caption,
“These are historic moments... have you made history?” During and following the
announcement of Morsy’s victory, “Muslim Brotherhood,” “SCAF,” “Tahrir Square”
and “Egyptian” also became trending topics on Twitter.
announcement, few troops were on the streets but security officials said they
were ready to respond to trouble. Government workers around Tahrir Square were
encouraged to go home for the day.
Streets in the center of the capital
were very quiet, shops were closed and people stayed indoors, anxious for news
and assailed by rumors of results favoring both of the
Tensions grew higher as the scheduled time of 3 p.m. drew
near and then passed without the press conference starting.
chairman Sultan finally opened the press conference at 4:40 p.m. with a warning
that if the restless audience could not be quiet, the announcement would be
“Egyptians have inspired the world,” he began, as some
expressed impatience with his almost hourl-ong speech. “I had hoped to announce
the results today in moments of celebration, but not everyone gets what he
wishes,” the chairman said.
Sultan said that while the election was the
true representation of the people’s will, defeated candidates complained of
fraud after the results. Noting that there had been 456 appeals by both
candidates, he said the committee found 2,154 forged identity cards in the
Regarding allegations that Christians had been prevented from
voting in Minya, Sultan said a subsequent investigation showed it was unclear
who had intimidated voters.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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