Muslim Brotherhood secures presidency in early results, military seizes control
The Muslim Brotherhood has secured a marginal victory in Egypt’s presidential election after initial counts on Monday. Early figures give them between 52 and 54 per cent over their rival, former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq. Meanwhile, the country’s ruling military have tightened their grip on executive powers in a new constitutional declaration.
Initial counts overnight give the Freedom and Justice party’s Moursi 52.7 per cent of the vote, according to the Al-Ahram publication. The state-run daily newspaper’s early tabulation puts turnout at around 50 per cent or 21 million.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s own calculations concur with these results. They put Moursi at 52.5 per cent with counting completed at 97 per cent of polling stations.
The Reuters news agency has cited an anonymous electoral commission representative as agreeing with the Brotherhood’s figures, although the official stated that these figures do not reflect official results, as tallying continues.
The Muslim Brotherhood announced their victory at a press conference at around 04:00 local time. While their official Twitter account announced that Moursi would take to the iconic Tahrir Square at 06:20 in celebration.
RFI has witnessed several hundred Moursi supporters gathered in Tahrir waving Egyptian flags. Traffic has been slowed, but is still moving.
Hosni Mubarak-era minister Shafiq has been quick to dismiss early figures from the Muslim Brotherhood. A spokesperson for Shafiq told Egyptian television that the early figures from Moursi’s camp are “absurd” and amount to “pathetic media manipulation”, according to Al-Ahram.
Meanwhile, as results poured in, Egyptians were still taking stock of a new constitutional declaration announced late on Sunday night in which the ruling military ruling assumed significant executive powers.
In the declaration, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) said they would decide on all issues relating to itself. Including its leadership and whether it goes to war or not. SCAF will act as both commander-in-chief and defence minister until a new constitution is drafted.
Following the dissolution of parliament by Egypt’s constitutional court SCAF will assume legislative control in its place.
As for the constituent assembly - the body charged with writing the constitution - if there are problems in its formation, SCAF will appoint a new constituent assembly in a week. It will then write a new constitution over three months which will then go to a referendum. With parliamentary elections taking place a month after, if the new constitution is approved.
However, there is also a clause which discusses so-called possible obstacles to Egypt’s revolution, introduced in the constitution. These could be struck down by SCAF, the new president, prime minister or constituent assembly.
There’s already been reaction to the military’s declaration. Human rights activist Hossam Bahgat said the move marked Egypt’s “full transition into a military dictatorship”. Pro-democracy campaigner and former UN nuclear watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei called it a “grave setback for democracy and the revolution”.
In their response to the military’s declaration, the Muslim Brotherhood’s parliament speaker Mohamed Saad Katatni called the announcement “null and void”. He said it was not based on any “constitutional legitimacy, principle or procedure”.