JNN 25 June 2012 Cairo : Mohammed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood-backed candidate, was declared Egypt’s first Islamist president on Sunday with 51.7 percent of last weekend’s run-off vote, defeating Ahmed Shafiq, who had been tapped as prime minister by former President Hosni Mubarak.
Morsi has earned nearly 52 percent of the vote, with over 13 million ballots, head of the SPEC Farouq Sultan said Sunday evening after days of delay in the announcement.
This is while, former Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq won over 12 million votes. The voter turnout was 51.85 percent.
In an address to Egyptians late Sunday night, Morsi reiterated his platform of unifying all Egyptians. Of those who died while protesting more than a year ago, he said, “Their blood will not go in vain.”
Morsi becomes Egypt’s fifth president, following Mubarak, who was president for nearly 30 years before mass protests across the country forced him to resign in February 2011.
The announcement by the state election committee Sunday touched off a jubilant celebration in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, where tens of thousands of Brotherhood supporters had gathered in 97-degree heat. The crowd waved national flags and chanted “Allahu Akbar!” or “God is great!”
Morsi will be sworn in on July 1, according to the election timetable.
His victory followed speculation about backroom deals and suspected interference by the ruling military council in determining the outcome in favor of Shafiq, Mubarak’s prime minister.
In his speech Sunday night, Morsi said that contrary to popular belief, he was grateful to the police, whom he called his “brothers and children.” He said he would rely on them to maintain “security from the inside.”
The military council will retain control of the biggest army in the Middle East, whose closest ally is the United States.
Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, who heads the military council that has ruled Egypt for more than 16 months, congratulated the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate after his presidential election win was confirmed, state television reported. The report, made in a brief headline, did not give further details.
Egypt’s ruling armed forces were on alert on Sunday as fears of violence mounted in the final hours before the state election committee named the winner.
Sunday’s result — 500 days after the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak — is historic for the Middle East, but will not end power struggles between the army, Islamists and others over Egypt’s future.
The generals, who oversaw Mubarak’s departure, have repeatedly said, both to Egyptians and to their close U.S. ally, that they will return to barracks and hand over to civilian rule. But they present themselves as guardians of Egypt’s security and long-term interests and moved to block the Islamists from taking more than a share of power.
The military has held power in Egypt for nearly 60 years since the revolution to overthrow a dynasty.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry congratulated Egyptians on Sunday for Morsi’s victory, saying Egypt was in the final stages of an “Islamic Awakening.”
In a statement issued Sunday, the foreign ministry hailed the history-making turnout of the Egyptian nation in the “decisive” presidential election, which marked “a majestic display of democracy.”
The Egyptians “once again showcased their firm resolve to realize the noble justice-seeking ideals of the great Egyptian revolution,” it added.
The statement further expressed certainty that the incoming Egyptian president would “play an effective role in the all-out growth and excellence of the country and the initiation of a transformative era” in Egypt’s history.
The United States has urged Mohamed Morsi, the newly-elected Egyptian president, to continue the former regime’s pro-US and Israel policy in the region.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney congratulated Morsi on his victory on Sunday, and called on him to maintain Egypt’s long-standing role as a peaceful, regional powerbroker, AFP reported.
Also in the besieged Gaza Strip, the Palestinians have taken to the streets in celebration.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office released a statement saying he “appreciates the democratic process in Egypt and respects its outcome.”
The son of a peasant farmer, Morsi has spoken of a simple childhood in a village in the Nile Delta province of Sharqia, recalling how his mother taught him prayer and the Koran. He obtained his doctorate from the University of Southern California in 1982 after studying at Cairo University.
Following his studies in the United States, he returned to Egypt in 1985. Two of his five children hold U.S. citizenship.