Muslim Brotherhood’s Candidate Claims Victory in Egypt’s Presidential Election
The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt on Monday claim victory in the presidential elections held on June 16 and 17, making Mohamed Morsi the first Islamist president in a country that was swept by the Arab Spring in 2011. Shafiq’s side challenged the claim of the Islamists, but the final results will be announced as soon as next Thursday. In a statement, Shafiq’s staff accused the Brotherhood of “deceiving the people” and said that their candidate had a slight advantage to the Islamist candidate.
The counts indicate that Morsi scored 13.2 million votes, that is 51.8 percent, while Ahmed Shafiq, scored 48.1 percent of the 25.5 million voters. The counts are based on results announced by election officials at individual counting centers. In a victory speech, Morsi attempted to convince the population in Egypt that his becoming president of the republic does not mean an era of Islamic law, and that the provisions of sharia will not be implemented in Egypt to the letter.
Morsi attempted to assuage the population in the run-up to the vote, as reports were published in some of Egyptian media outlets about an alleged statement made by the presidential hopeful as to the fate of the Christian after the election, in which he was quoted to say that Christians either convert, pay the Islamic tax for non-Muslims or leave the country.
These words put in his mouth were never acknowledged by either Morsi or the campaign staff, and the candidate was quick to reassure the “Christian brothers” that they will not endure any hardship from his administration, promising that if possible, even a vice president chair will be ascribed to the Christians.
He also reassured the women in Egypt that they will not be required to observe the sharia law and no dress code will be imposed on her as they had feared. The population of Egypt fears that the victory of the Muslim Brotherhood will bring upon a radical Islamist view in the social life, after the parliamentary elections were already won by the Brotherhood.
In the speech, Morsi thanked God for having pointed the population of Egypt into the right direction, that of freedom, and democracy, and promised all the people in the country that he would be a “servant to all of them.”
He said that his election will be not a time for revenge but one of brotherhood, as all Egyptians share the same country and the same duties and freedoms. The most important step that is to be taken now is the recuperation of power from the military, which holds the grip on the state and could attempt to impose its control over the new power.
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces promised to hand over power soon after the elections, by July 1, and urged the political parties to hurry the restoration of the constituent assembly which was entrusted with writing a new constitution and failed to do so because it was disbanded by court ruling on the account of its lack of representativeness, after Christians, liberal and secularists walked out of it.
In the run-up to the election, the supreme council offered the security forces and the police the possibility to arrest people for crimes such obstruction of traffic. On Thursday, the parliament was dissolved by a ruling of the generals in power. The fact that the law enforcement agencies were given the power to arrest civilians for suspected crimes, gives reason to believe that a martial law was actually installed in Egypt.
An interim constitution was drafted and according to its provision, as written in a document obtained by The Associated Press, the generals will appoint a 100-member panel to draft a new constitution, which will give them a saying in the new fundamental law.
The interim constitution offers the generals the right to create laws and the president the right to approve them or dismiss them. Military controls the budget, while the president has the right to appoint a Cabinet and approve or reject laws. By this constitution, the president cannot change the make-up of the military council, while some powers which had been in the hand of the president are now handed over to the military chief.
New elections cannot be held under the new interim constitution until the constitution is drafted, which should be by December. In the constitution-drafting process, the military will have the power to object to any of the articles of the constitution being drafted.
The announcement of the new interim constitution declaration was made by the military council on Sunday, triggering the immediate reaction of the Brotherhood, which said that the military council had no authority to dissolve the parliament.
The Muslim Brotherhood won the elections in January and is expected to control the power in the state for the next years. The organization has been banned for 80 years, and is now on the verge of obtaining all the important positions in the state, including that of the president.
The presidential vote is expected to end the transition to democracy, which started in February 2011, after the former ruler Hosni Mubarak was removed from power. Mubarak was sentenced to life in prison in a decision which angered many, as they were expecting him to be sentenced to death.
The presidential campaign started with the surprise announcement made by the Brotherhood, which had promised not to have a candidate of its own. Then, the electoral commission, controlled by the military, rejected the candidacy of the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, along with the ones of a Salafist candidate and the former intelligence chief Omar Suleiman.
The new candidacy of the Brotherhood was appointed soon after the first was rejected. The first round of elections offered a surprise, as the former Foreign Minister and Arab League secretary general Amr Moussa did not confirm the opinion polls, which were saying that he was the favorite of the people, sending to runoffs the Brotherhood candidate and Ahmed Shafiq, former premier of Mubarak regime, who had been denied the participation, only to be reaccepted 24 hours later, when it became clear that the lustration law was not applying to him.11