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Sunday 24 June 2012 17:39

Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi declared president of Egypt

Incoming president Mohamed Morsi assumes office after turbulent weeks that have left post-Mubarak transition in disarray.

Teaser Image Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi declared president of Egypt

The Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi has been declared Egypt's first post-revolutionary president, bringing an end to days of feverish speculation amid increased divisions and polarisation.

Morsi won with 51% of the vote. Second-placed Ahmed Shafiq, Mubarak's final prime minister, took 48%.

The incoming president assumes office after a turbulent few weeks that have left Egypt's wrenching transition in disarray, with parliament being dissolved by the supreme court and a military-issued constitutional declaration that severely limits presidential powers.

Both sides quarrelled over tactics in the wake of the polls closing. The Muslim Brotherhood announced Morsi as the winner six hours after voting ended, having tabulated the results from the 13,000 poll stations.

The Shafiq campaign responded angrily, claiming its candidate wasactually the one leading the race. The supreme council of the armed forces (Scaf), Egypt's ruling military leadership, waded in, criticising the Brotherhood for its "unjustifiable" premature announcement.

Meanwhile, talk of backroom negotiations between the Muslim Brotherhood and Scaf was confirmed by the group's deputy head, Khairat Al-Shater, as the two sides traded barbs over the country's political future. The Muslim Brotherhood held a press conference on Friday in conjunction with liberal forces, during which it attempted to mollify its critics.

Morsi will have much to occupy his first few days of office, encumbered by the overreach of the generals and the divisive nature of Egyptian politics.

"The symbolism of a presidential election victory, particularly for Morsi, will be an achievement in and of itself," said Mike Hanna, fellow at the Century foundation. "But after that initial euphoria has evaporated, he will be faced with difficult circumstances, a tired and impatient nation, and an ongoing power for political power."

Tens of thousands of protesters mainly comprising Muslim Brotherhood supporters had been stationed in Tahrir Square since last Tuesday, objecting to the court ruling that dissolved the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated parliament the day before the runoff between Shafiq and Morsi took place.

As polling stations closed the following day, Scaf issued a new constitutional declaration that gave the military far-ranging powers in executive decisions as well as the detainment of civilians.

Also in the balance is the fate of the country's permanent constitution, which has now also reverted to the remit of the generals, having been wrestled from the Islamist factions in parliament. The constituent assembly tasked with drafting the constitution is under pressure to deliver quickly, or the military will take over the entire process.

Such a scenario will make for an impossible setting for "thoughtful governance or reform," Hanna said, "If the electoral shifts seen in the first round of the presidential elections are any indication, voter patience.

The Guardian

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