Muslim Brotherhood's Morsi becomes Egypt's first civilian president
The Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi was declared Egypt's first civilian president since the monarchy was overthrown in 1952. But he will share power with a military suspicious of his 84-year-old Islamist organization.
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Shortly after the elections results were announced, Morsi made good on a promise to resign his party membership in the FJP as a symbol of his willingness to form an inclusive government.Skip to next paragraph
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Egyptians will be closely watching the first moves of Morsi and the Brotherhood. If the movement ends its protests in Tahrir square against the constitutional amendment, many will suspect a deal between SCAF and the Brotherhood. Whether Morsi attempts to assert control over and reform the security services, and who he appoints as minister of defense, will also be telling. Secular and liberal Egyptians will wait to see if he will uphold his promise to appoint a woman, Christian, or former presidential candidate as vice president; a trusted, independent figure as prime minister; and a coalition government that represents all Egyptians. The battle for control over Egypt's permanent constitution also looms large.
Still, whatever happens next, many Brotherhood members and supporters are savoring victory today. Impromptu dance parties broke out on streets in several parts of Cairo after the announcement, as people blocked streets and beat drums in joy.
But the party may not last long. Morsi also inherits a sinking economy that will make it difficult for him to meet expectations of increased wages, better education, and more jobs. Shrinking foreign reserves have brought warnings of a currency devaluation that would send prices soaring.
Happiness at Morsi's victory was mixed with relief. Many employees left work early and shops closed Sunday as Cairenes grew anxious that a result seen as fraudulent could precipitate riots. The Brotherhood had claimed victory for Morsi since Monday, but the delay in announcing the results caused fear that the military was searching for a way to declare Shafiq the winner.
Streets were empty as the election commission overseeing the vote held a televised press conference to announce the winner. In a scene that seemed to mirror Egypt's lengthy and tiring transition process, the head of the commission, Farouq Sultan, did not announce the winner right away. Instead, he read a lengthy speech defending and praising the work of the commission.
As Egyptians sat on the edge of their seats for results, he proceeded to describe the candidates complaints of irregularities, addressing complaints at the local level that involved, at one point, just eight votes. After nearly an hour of excruciating detail, he finally announced Morsi the winner.
An overwhelming din filled the square as people cheered, blew noise makers, set off firecrackers and honked horns in celebration. Street vendors ran a steady business selling shiny noise makers to the thousands streaming into the square on foot. "We're overjoyed because our revolution succeeded," says Manal Lotfy, heading into Tahrir with her family.
But many said they were not only celebrating Morsi's win, they were also protesting the military's power grab and demanding the return of the parliament. "Egypt should be free and independent, with civilian rulers," says Ms. Lotfy.
"We feel great. We feel we are finally terminating military rule," says Radwan Sallam, an engineer who came to the square with his son and two daughters, all adults. "They occupied us for 60 years. It was my life dream to see the end of the military occupation," he said. He admitted the battle was not yet won, but said he now had hope to see a victory in his lifetime. "There is still a long fight ahead. They have the power, but we have the determination."