Egyptians in Tahrir Square erupted in cheers after Muslim Brotherhood-backed candidate Mohamed Morsi was declared the winner of the country’s election Sunday morning, becoming the Arab world’s first elected Islamist head of state after more than a year of popular uprisings, the Post reported.
Morsi beat out old-guard candidate Ahmed Shafiq by a slim margin in a runoff vote.
Egyptian writer Bassem Sabry tweeted:
This is the first time in my life I see a single Egyptian happy with the results of the presidential elections. First time they ever matter.— Bassem Sabry (@Bassem_Sabry) June 24, 2012
Some see the result as a positive sign for the country’s revolution, especially after Egypt’s temporarily-ruling military generals last week issued statements that some viewed as a power grab. Rawya Rageh, a Cairo-based Al Jazeera English reporter, wrote on twitter:
Muslim Brotherhood now has a serious, last opportunity to rescue the Revolution IF they do right by revolutionaries, liberals, others #Egypt— Rawya Rageh (@RawyaRageh) June 24, 2012
Others expressed wariness that Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces may continue to be the real seat of power, as a decree the body issued last week appeared to give the president a subservient role. Egypt-based journalist Deena Adel wrote:
The announcement comes one week after the run-off ended “and three days after the elections commission initially pledged to declare the winner, a delay the body said was needed to review hundreds of complaints lodged by the campaigns. Both candidates — the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi and former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq — have claimed narrow victories,” reported the Post’s Karin Brulliard.
In the lead-up to the announcement, Egyptians waited in tense anticipation. The results were scheduled to be released at 9 a.m. EST, but were delayed by several hours.
For the first time in my life, I sit holding my breath in front of a TV screen waiting to find out who my next president is. #Egypt— Deena Adel (@deena_adel) June 24, 2012
Anticipation in Tahrir is incredible. People gathered around nearby tv and radio sets, constantly refreshing their twitters, tension.— Bassem Sabry (@Bassem_Sabry) June 24, 2012
The results were at a news conference held by the electoral commission in Nasser City.
Farouq Sultan, head of the election commission and chairman of the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt, opened with a long, winding speech, parsing in tedious detail “the outcomes of some of the legal challenges made during the electoral process,” the BBC reported.
Egyptians waiting patiently in Tahrir Square tweeted snarkily about the preamble. Ahmad H. Aggour, an Egyptian blogger, wrote:
Presidential election commission chief Farouk Sultan said Morsi won by a narrow margin, winning almost 52 percent of votes cast, the Post’s Ernesto Londono reported.
Morsi’s organization was outlawed under the presidency of former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak, and “a Morsi loss could have generated serious political instability; Brotherhood supporters had vowed to continue their demonstrations if that was the outcome, saying it would have amounted to electoral theft,” Londono wrote.
As the Post reported previously, Morsi is the more religious of the two candidates: “Egyptian analysts say Morsi was chosen because of his loyalty to the organization’s dominant conservative wing. During his campaign, Morsi cast himself as God’s candidate, promising that the Koran would be the foundation of a future constitution and vowing to implement a strict version of Islamic law. In recent weeks, the Brotherhood appealed to conservative clerics, asking that they urge followers to vote for him.”