Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood claimed on Monday that its candidate had won the country’s first free presidential election, defeating Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister and ending 60 years of rule by presidents drawn from the armed forces. An election committee source told Reuters that Islamist Mohamed Morsy, a U.S.-educated engineer, was comfortably ahead of former air force general Ahmed Shafik with most of the votes tallied, but that the count had yet to be officially finalized. However, new head of state is likely to remain subordinate to the military for some time at least. In yet another twist in Egypt’s tortuous path from revolution to democracy, the ruling military council issued a decree as voting ended on Sunday that set strict limits on the president’s powers. On the eve of the election, it had already dissolved the Islamist-led parliament. Liberal and Islamist opponents denounced a “military coup”.
The chaotic end to the race, as Shafik’s camp challenged the Brotherhood’s claim overnight, and the last-minute intervention by the generals who pushed out Mubarak in the name of the people, were in keeping with a transition that was meant to chart a new course for the Arab world’s most populous nation but has left most of the 82 million Egyptians weary and confused. Both Egypt’s Western allies, long wary of the rise of political Islam, as well as neighboring Israel, worried about its 1979 peace treaty with Cairo, have looked on with alarm as its economy totters and hostile rhetoric gets a wider airing.
“Mohamed Morsy is the first popularly elected civilian president of Egypt,” the official website of Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party announced in the early hours of Monday. But an aide to Shafik, an ex-military man like Mubarak, contested that and said the group was “hijacking the election.” However, as Cairo’s streets stirred into life after two days devoted to a historic election, the source on the electoral committee told Reuters: “The results shown by the Morsy campaign on their website which show Morsy in the lead, reflect to a large degree the results tallied by the electoral committee.”
Full Article: Egypt Islamists claim presidency | Reuters.