The Muslim Brotherhood's
Mohammed Morsi has officially won Egypt's presidential election and will be the
country's next president, the electoral commission has announced.
Morsi picked up 13.2
million votes out of just over 26 million, giving him 51.7 percent of the vote.
His competitor, Ahmed Shafiq, the last prime minister under Hosni Mubarak,
received 12.3 million, handing him 48.3 percent of the vote, Al Jazeera
More than 800,000
ballots were invalidated.
Farouq Sultan, the head
of the election commission, delivered a long speech before announcing the
results in which he defended the body's "independence and integrity"
amidst what he called meddling by unnamed political factions.
The two candidates filed
456 complaints about the electoral process, Sultan said, most of them
allegations of either forgery or Christian voters being blocked from polling
stations in Upper Egypt. The vast majority of those complaints were dismissed.
Morsi's victory caps off
more than a week of behind-the-scenes negotiations between the Brotherhood and
the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF). He claimed victory just
hours after last week's runoff election, based on unofficial numbers tallied by
the Brotherhood, but the commission delayed its official announcement until
In the intervening days,
Khairat al-Shater, the Brotherhood's political boss, met generals from SCAF at
least once. Sources say they were negotiating exactly what powers the president
Despite Morsi's victory,
many of those questions about his power remain unanswered.
Shortly before the polls
closed last week, the generals issued a decree sharply limiting the powers of
the new president. It permitted him to declare war, for example, only with the
approval of the military council.
SCAF will also keep
control of legislative power, and the budget, until a new parliament is
elected. Egyptians went to the polls in November to elect a legislature, which
was dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, but it was
dissolved earlier this month after a high court ruling found parts of the
electoral law unconstitutional.
Saad el-Katatni, the
speaker of the now-dissolved parliament, also met with officials from SCAF, and
told them that the Brotherhood would not accept the court ruling or the
election-night decree. But it's unclear whether the Brotherhood ultimately
accepted those decisions in exchange for the presidency.
Either way, the military
council --which has promised to hand over power to a civilian government on
June 30, in a "grand ceremony" -- will remain a powerful force in
Egyptian politics, despite the election of a civilian president.
The military council
will retain control of the biggest army in the Middle East, whose closest ally
is the United States. Morsi has said he will respect international treaties,
will struggle to control the levers of state," Elijah Zarwan, senior
policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, said in Cairo.
"He will likely
face foot-dragging and perhaps outright attempts to undermine his initiatives
from key institutions. Faced with such resistance, frustration may tempt him
fall into the trap of attempting to throw his new weight around," Zarwan told
Reuters. "This would be a mistake.
"His challenge is
to lead a bitterly divided, fearful, and angry population toward a peaceful
democratic outcome, without becoming a reviled scapegoat for continued military