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…
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 struggle 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…
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.
One can only hope peace will reign alongside the struggle for a democratic parliament, a constitution free of army governance. One can only hope – and add some pressure – that Western governments support the growth of democratic freedoms in Egypt instead of continuing to treat that historic nation as just another pawn in the game of sucking oil from the Middle East.