Muslim Brotherhood's Mohammed Morsi To Be Egypt's New President
June 24, 2012
by Melisa Goh
Muslim Brotherhood-backed Mohammed Morsi is Egypt's new president, the country's electoral commission announced on Sunday. Massive crowds in Cairo's Tahrir Square erupted in cheers at the announcement.
Morsi's election is a victory for Islamist groups as well as those who saw his candidacy as a way to clear out the final remnants of ousted leader Hosni Mubarak's regime. Ahead of the announcement, rumors flew of fraud and secret bargains made to favor Hosni Mubarak's last prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq.
The AP has the numbers, saying "Morsi won with 51.7 percent of the vote versus 48.3 for Shafiq."
The announcement of the election results was supposed to be the resolution of the tumultuous transition to democracy Egypt began when a popular uprising swept Hosni Mubarak from power more than a year ago.
Instead, backroom deals and last-minute moves by the military cast suspicion over the country's first free presidential vote, spiking tensions across the country. Results from last weekend's runoff elections were originally to be announced on Thursday, but were postponed until today.
Meanwhile, crowds swelled in Cairo's Tahrir Square, the birthplace of Egypt's pro-democracy movement. Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, ultraconservative Islamists and revolutionary youth groups mixed in the midday heat as they waited for the announcement.
CNN showed Egyptians being frisked as they entered the square, and the AP reports police have been ordered to "confront any attempt to break the law with decisive force."
Regardless of the election's outcome, however, it is Egypt's military that remains in power. In the 16 months since Mubarak was ousted, it has assumed control of all key branches of state. Just before elections last weekend, the ruling generals dissolved Egypt's popularly elected parliament, which was dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood. Shortly after polls closed, they amended Egypt's constitution to strip power from the incoming president. Powers of arrest and detention have also been broadened.
Extra security forces have been deployed around the country since Saturday, the AP reports. Armored vehicles, troops and riot police are stationed at Cairo's airport, around Parliament and throughout the streets of the city. Sunday is a work day in Egypt, but employees were sent home early over concerns of new violence – many stopping to stock up on food and jewelry along the way.