Muslim Brotherhood Candidate Takes Egypt Election
Islamist candidate Mohammed Morsi claimed victory as the new president of Egypt on Monday, reported The Sydney Morning Herald. The presidential elections were the country's first since Hosni Mubarak was uprooted from power over a year ago.
But there is a caveat to his newfound power: He may not have much of it.
Prior to the results being announced, the Egyptian military— Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF)— vowed to maintain the authority it has exerted since Mubarak's reign ended. According to TIME:
Just minutes after the polls closed on Sunday night and just as the ballot count got underway, Egypt’s ruling junta issued a constitutional declaration, placing severe limitations on the powers of the new president. The military had previously promised a full transition of power to civilian rule after more than a year of political turmoil.
Though the military did agree to hand over power to Morsi by the end of the month, it has also made claim to the following terms:
The military decreed that it will have legislative authority after a court dissolved parliament, it will control the drafting of a new constitution and will not allow civilian oversight of its significant economic interests or other affairs.
According to The National, the new president will "assume only a fraction of the powers that Egypt's old 1971 constitution afforded the executive branch." For instance, the president will not have control of the military's budget and SCAF will have power over those who rewrite the new constitution. The president will also not be able to veto any legislation.
Morsi, an engineer who was educated in the United States, is also an Islamist and part of the Muslim Brotherhood- a fundamentalist organization that was pivotal during the Arab Spring uprising.
Morsi narrowly defeated Ahmed Shafiq, Hosni Mubarak's last prime minister, with 52 percent of the vote while Shafiq received 48 percent. Voting began on Saturday and many speculated that it would not be a fair one.
Brotherhood supporters have celebrated the victory while also publicly proclaiming their plans to resist Egyptian military rule if it plans to overstep Morsi's new authority.
"Over the past 18 months we were very keen to avoid any clashes or confrontations with other components of Egypt's political system because we felt that it would have negative consequences for the democratic system and for society as a whole," said Fatema AbouZeid to The Guardian. AbouZeid is a senior policy researcher for the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice party and a media co-ordinator for the Morsi campaign. "But now it's very clear that Scaf and other institutions of the state are determined to stand in the way of what we're trying to achieve, and we won't accept this any more. Egypt will not go back to the old regime through any means, legal or illegal.
"If we find that Scaf stands firm against us as we try to fulfil the demands of the revolution, we will go back to the streets and escalate things peacefully to the highest possible stage," she said. "Now we have a new factor in Egyptian politics, the Egyptian people themselves, who will not accept a return to the old regime in any form, not after so much Egyptian blood was shed to remove it.
"The revolution is facing a life or death moment and the Egyptian people have put their faith in Dr Morsi to represent them at this time."
Morsi's victory has done little to placate the tension between the brotherhood and SCAF; rather, many fear the tension will worsen.
"At the moment, the military are heading for a confrontation with the Muslim Brotherhood, which is talking about canceling the constitutional declaration," said Elijah Zarwan, a senior policy fellow in Cairo for the European Council on Foreign Relations, to the BBC.
"These latest moves have really raised the stakes."
Read more Neon Tommy coverage of Egypt here.
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