May 20, 2013
Islamist Morsy wins Egyptian presidency with 52 percent
Islamist Mohamed Morsy of the Muslim Brotherhood was declared Egypt's first democratic president by the state election committee, which said he had defeated former general Ahmed Shafik with 51.7 percent of last weekend's run-off vote.
He succeeds Hosni Mubarak, who was overthrown 16 months ago after a popular uprising. The military council which has ruled the biggest Arab nation 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.
Thousands of Brotherhood supporters burst into cheers on Cairo's Tahrir Square, waving national flags, setting off fireworks and chanting "Allahu Akbar!" or God is Great, greeting a dramatic victory, tempered by the army's continuing role.
"Say! Don't fear! The military must go!" crowds chanted.
For Morsy, a US-educated engineer who spent time in jail under Mubarak, a spokesman said: "This is a testament to the resolve of the Egyptian people to make their voice heard."
Shafik, a former air force commander and Mubarak's last prime minister, offered no immediate reaction. He has said he would offer to serve in a Morsy administration.
Morsy, 60, won the first round ballot in May with a little under a quarter of the vote. He has pledged to form an inclusive government to appeal to the many Egyptians, including a large Christian minority, who are anxious over religious rule.
The military council will retain control of the biggest army in the Middle East, whose closest ally is the United States. Morsy has said he will respect international treaties, notably that signed with Israel in 1979, on which much U.S. aid depends.
"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 institutions. Faced with such resistance, frustration may tempt him to 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."