By crowds in Tahrir.
After firing Egypt’s top general Sunday and canceling constitutional amendments that gave sweeping powers to the armed forces, President Mohamed Morsi was cheered by crowds in Tahrir Square on Sunday night. Morsi said in an address that his decision to clean house among the nation’s top brass was not motivated by personal animosities and added, “My aim was the benefit of this nation and its people.” Some have greeted the decision with skepticism, however, seeing it as the just the most recent blow landed in a power struggle between the country’s military and civilian leaders that began soon after the ouster of dictator Hosni Mubarak.
As Cairo is gripped by protests, real news junkies know to go straight to the source. From a YouTube pro to a half-British cynic, these citizen journos help make sense of the chaos.
Once again, Egypt’s Tahrir Square is a hotbed of revolution.
Clockwise from top left: Egyptian bloggers Maikel Nabil, Sarah Abdelrahman, SandMonkey, and an image from the blog of Soraya Morayef. (AP (2);Getty (1))
For the past week, thousands of protesters have faced off with security forces, some resorting to violence in frustration over a government that just can’t seem to reach consensus. President Mohamed Morsi has been weakened. Egypt’s army chief has warned of “collapse.” Cars are burning in the streets.
Since the revolution that took out Hosni Mubarak two years ago, the story of Egypt has been complicated and fast-moving; many U.S. news organizations continue to rely on Twitter and blogs run by citizen journalists for the most up-to-date information. And while these documentarians’ reporting may have made it into your morning paper, you seldom learn their names.
Here, with the help of those in the know, The Daily Beast has compiled a list of the top six Egyptian bloggers you should be following right now. As it turns out, the majority of them are women.
1. Sarah Carr
By firing the armed forces chief and other key members of the SCAF, Morsi is showing his power, but the move could backfire against the president, who is losing credibility with some Egyptians, and faces a crucial challenge in the Sinai.
Egypt’s president, Mohamed Morsi, proved the power of his might Sunday with a shakeup both rumored and surprising to many—sacking the head of the military, Egypt’s de facto ruler throughout the transition period, and several other key members of the distrusted Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.
Morsi resolved to scrap a constitutional document that handed sweeping powers and autonomy to Egypt's military and ordered the retirement of Hussein Tantawi, defense minister and commander of the armed forces, and Chief of Staff Sami Anan, awarding both men state medals and appointing them presidential advisers. He also made his highly anticipated selection of vice president, naming Senior Judge Mahmoud Mekki as his deputy.
While many saw the expanding powers of the military as an attempt to hijack the revolution, the shuffle comes amid a violent standoff with militants on the Sinai Peninsula near the border with Gaza, and an overall lapse in security nationwide. Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and Egypt’s first civilian president, was viewed by many as nothing more than a figurehead, since measures taken by the military left little room for a second-in-charge. This latest move leaves many observers questioning whether Morsi’s ability to seize authority had been underestimated.
“This is a palace coup and a very risky one,” said Paul Sullivan, a North Africa expert at National Defense University. “Firing most of the SCAF is a bold move that could backfire at Morsi. He has been losing credibility with the Egyptian public since his election. The Sinai attack was seen by many in Egypt as a sign of Morsi's weakness, not the military and intelligence people. Now he is trying to turn the tables on them.”
The military, which had presided over state affairs since Hosni Mubarak’s resignation in February 2011, had suffered a severe decline in public opinion following a number of violent clashes with protesters that provoked a bitter outcry. An 11th-hour court decision ahead of the presidential election dissolved the country’s Islamist-dominated parliament, leaving Morsi with no new constitution and no legislature when he assumed office on June 30. The decree also left much of the country’s budget—specifically its defense budget—under the autonomous control of the military council. The rulings sparked fury among citizens, who took to Tahrir Square once again, accusing the military of a soft coup.
President Mohammed Morsi, second from right, talks with Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, second left, as they attend a military graduation ceremony with Prime Minister Kamal el-Ganzouri, left, and Chief of Staff Sami Anan, right, in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, July 17, 2012. (Sheriff Abd El Minoem / AP Photo)
As Egypt’s new president quarrels with the military and court, Hillary Clinton visited Cairo and pledged that the U.S. supports the transition to democracy. Vivian Salama reports.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrapped up a two-day visit to Cairo on Sunday, the first since Egypt’s historic presidential election won by an Islamist candidate, potentially reshaping ties between these old allies against the backdrop of a rapidly changing Arab world.
Clinton cautiously reaffirmed America’s commitment to Egypt’s power transfer as a recent tug of war between newly elected President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood and the country’s top generals seemed to lodge the transition in limbo. She urged the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to fully support a handover to civilian rule while pressing Morsi to maintain his commitment to establishing a democratic state.
“Egyptians are in the midst of complex negotiations about the transition, from the composition of your Parliament to the writing of a new constitution to the powers of the president,” Clinton said at the joint conference with Egypt’s Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr. “Only Egyptians can answer these questions, but I have come to Cairo to reaffirm the strong support of the United States for the Egyptian people and for your democratic transition.”
Morsi, who was officially named Egypt’s first postrevolution president on June 24, has pledged to empower the Egyptian people, taking on the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which has served as the interim ruler since former president Hosni Mubarak’s resignation last year. Days after assuming office, he reinstated the Islamist-dominated Parliament dissolved by the high court only days before the presidential election. The court overrode the decision, but Morsi defied the order, calling on Parliament to convene, heightening tensions in a country frail from unrelenting disquiet.
A staunch ally of Mubarak’s, the United States has been impelled to evolve with the Arab world, engaging with Islamist groups it once shunned and hedging its bets with governments that bear no track record. Clinton highlighted that despite America’s support of the Mubarak regime, it was consistent in advocating human rights and calling for an end to Egypt’s oppressive emergency law. In a meeting with Morsi on Saturday, she urged the president to take minority groups into consideration amid fears that the Muslim Brotherhood and hardline Salafi Islamists would clamp down on civil rights and restrict religious freedoms in the country of 82 million people.
Prominent members of the Coptic and Evangelical churches, including billionaire Naguib Sawiris, declined an invitation to meet with Clinton, rejecting a perceived interference by the U.S. in Egypt's internal affairs.
President Mohamed Morsi made a big deal of convening the country’s dissolved Parliament, but it was less a confrontation with the military than political theater designed to shore up flagging Muslim Brotherhood support.
Tuesday in Cairo was a moment for grand political theater and big dramatic gestures. It also was a day whose subtext was just as revealing as anything that happened in public.
Here’s what transpired on the surface: The Muslim Brotherhood staged a showy and symbolic convening of the People’s Assembly, in open defiance of both the country’s Supreme Constitutional Court and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. (An SCC verdict last month dissolved the four-month-old Brotherhood-dominated legislature on an electoral technicality that was swiftly enforced by the SCAF.)
Tuesday’s rebel parliamentary session was short and sweet—lasting less than 15 minutes and consisting of Speaker Mohamed Saad El-Katatni announcing that the whole parliamentary question would be referred to the Court of Cassation, the country’s highest appeals court. Then the Brotherhood headed two blocks away to Tahrir Square for a mass public rally designed to emphasize their popular support. Within hours of the parliamentary session, the Supreme Constitutional Court had publicly struck back, invalidating President Mohamed Morsi’s decree to reopen the Parliament in the first place.
Taken at face value, the day’s events equate to a public declaration of war between the MB and the SCAF—which, according to the court ruling, now holds legislative authority. The Parliament was reinstated by a presidential decree from Morsi, a longtime Muslim Brotherhood senior official. In the process, Morsi essentially created a scenario where Egypt’s executive branch is openly challenging the authority of the judicial branch over the future and legitimacy of the legislative branch. That’s a catastrophe for any country, much less one as fragile and fractured as modern Egypt.
The likely truth, however, is far less dramatic. For starters, neither side went as far as it could have. The SCAF, which has recently barred members of Parliament from entering the chamber, avoided a public showdown and let the session happen. Meanwhile, the Brotherhood made it clear they respected the Egyptian judiciary and would not be holding any further wildcat parliamentary sessions while their appeal was pending.
“I want to stress, we are not contradicting the ruling, but looking at a mechanism for the implementation of the ruling of the respected court. There is no other agenda today,” Katatni said.
Despite the Supreme Court ruling its closure "final."
Egypt's parliament is set to meet on Tuesday, after President Morsi ordered the body to reconvene. The parliament will meet in spite of the Supreme Court's ruling on Monday, which called the decision to dissolve parliament last month "final and not subject to appeal." Parliment speaker Saad al-Katatni explained that the lower house would sit at noon on Tuesday and that the body plans to discuss "how to implement the court ruling." One European diplomatic source said, "The test will come when we see how the soldiers guarding the parliament building behave when MP's try to convene."
Foreign policy often consists of helping to broker outcomes that are merely bad, not catastrophic. Had Obama tried to preserve a repressive regime willing to do America’s bidding, things in Egypt would be even worse than they are now.
Wouldn’t it be great if campaigns offered honest slogans, ones that told you the real reason to vote for their gal or guy? For the Romney campaign, a truly honest slogan would be something like: “Don’t worry, he doesn’t believe a lot of the stupid stuff he says.” For the Obama campaign it would be: “He’s managed America’s decline well.”
The Obama folks will never publicly admit that American power is in decline, but if you compare America’s international position today to its position in the late 1990s, the trajectory is obvious. In Bill Clinton’s second term, the U.S. was flush with cash, its military was coming off victories in the Gulf War, Bosnia, and Kosovo, governments across the world were embracing American-style deregulated capitalism, and America dwarfed its geopolitical rivals. Today, by contrast, America is deep in debt, its military is battered and exhausted, its economic ideology enjoys far less prestige, and it faces, in China, a genuine second superpower. Managing this reality has been the central foreign policy challenge of Barack Obama’s first term, and although his campaign can’t say so, he’s done a pretty good job.
A good example is Egypt. Since the 1970s, it has been a pillar of American dominance in the Middle East. Egyptian dictators made peace with Israel, cooperated with American-led efforts to force the Palestinians to do the same, and helped America battle various leftist and Islamist foes. Anwar Sadat and Hosni Mubarak weren’t perfect clients, to be sure. They indulged, and even fostered, anti-American and anti-Israeli sentiment at home, and their repression and corruption sometimes proved embarrassing. But for more than three decades, Egypt was led by men far more supportive of U.S. policy than were the people they ruled.
That’s less true today. Obama has taken heat for our declining influence in Cairo, with some conservatives saying he is partly to blame for “losing Egypt.” But Obama didn’t “lose Egypt,” because America never really had it. Ordinary Egyptians never embraced the alliance with the United States, because that alliance brought them neither freedom nor prosperity. What Obama “lost” was a regime willing to do America’s bidding despite its people’s desires, and had he tried to preserve that in the face of revolutionary change, things in Egypt would be even worse than they are today.
President Barack Obama speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington on June 29, after the Supreme Court ruled on his health-care legislation. (Luke Sharrett / AP Photo)
Since the Arab Spring came to Cairo 18 months ago, Obama has faced two key moments of decision. And at both points, his willingness to accept Egypt’s emerging, post-American order has served Egypt, and America, well. The first moment came when Egypt’s masses flooded into the streets early last year demanding that Mubarak resign. From the Gulf to Israel to the GOP, conservatives chastised Obama for not standing more firmly behind America’s old ally. But had Obama invited Mubarak to turn Tahrir Square into Tiananmen Square, Egypt might look more like Syria today. The opposition would likely have turned violent, Egypt’s chances for an even semi-democratic transition would have collapsed, and by aiding a mass slaughter, Obama would have virtually guaranteed the hatred of whatever revolutionary force ultimately succeeded the 84-year-old dictator.
First freely elected leader.
Mohamed Morsi was sworn in Saturday as Egypt’s first freely elected president and the first to take power since ruler Hosni Mubarak was deposed last year. The Islamist president-elect held a rally in Tahrir Square on Friday ahead of his inauguration, saying that as president he would work to free Omar Abdel-Rahman, the “blind sheik” imprisoned in the United States. Morsi, a 60-year-old member of the Muslim Brotherhood, arrived at Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court for his official swearing-in ceremony at 11 a.m. local time Saturday. "We aspire to a better tomorrow, a new Egypt, and a second republic," Morsi said in his official speech.
While Mubarak’s wife, Suzanne, was a Westernized elitist, Naglaa Ali—who wears a veil and doesn’t do interviews—is a change for Cairo. Vivian Salama on Mohamed Morsi’s mysterious wife.
Naglaa Ali wears little makeup and dons a khimar, an Islamic veil that completely covers the hair and falls loosely to the waist. Ali wasn’t well known in Egypt. That is, until she joined her husband Mohamed Morsi for a tour of Cairo’s presidential palace.
Less than a week before Egypt’s first Islamist president officially assumes office, the nation’s attention has turned to his wife. Until recently, Egypt’s soon-to-be first lady was a mystery to those her husband would soon rule. She rarely accompanied Morsi on his nationwide campaign, and she had done virtually no interviews.
Egypt’s ultraconservative First Lady Naglaa Ali (inset), the wife of newly elected Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, is a change for Cairo. (Ahmad Hammad / AP Photo)
As informal exit polls hinted at Morsi’s win over Ahmed Shafiq, a stalwart of the former regime, Egyptians got a first look at Ali after a few photos went viral on social media and Egyptian news websites. The image sparked heated discussions over whether her ultraconservative appearance is suitable to represent Egypt in a diplomatic arena—a stark contrast from her predecessors, including the now-notorious Suzanne Mubarak, a Westernized elitist who reportedly used her husband’s power to amass a personal fortune of as much as $3.3 million.
Born in Cairo in 1962, Ali was 17 when she married Morsi—her first cousin, a common practice in the Arab world. The couple relocated to the United States shortly after they wed, where Morsi completed his doctorate in engineering at the University of Southern California and later worked as a professor at California State University, Northridge. Ali, who trained as a translator, gave birth to two of their five children while living in the U.S. It was there that she was first enthralled with the grassroots work of the Muslim Brotherhood and became an active member of the organization, engaging in charity work, primarily with a focus on education.
In one of the only interviews she has given to date, she reportedly said she prefers to be called “Oum Ahmed” (the Mother of Ahmed) by the Egyptian people—a traditional designation referring to her eldest son. She also said that she is opposed to living in the presidential palace formerly inhabited by the Mubaraks, and would instead prefer to buy a house in Cairo, suitable for entertaining large groups.
According to Mohamed Morsi’s policy adviser.
Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president, plans to appoint a female vice president. His policy adviser Ahmed Deif said: “For the first time in Egyptian history—not just modern but in all Egyptian history—a woman will take that position. And it’s not just a vice president who will represent a certain agenda and sect, but a vice president who is powerful and empowered and will be taking care of critical advising within the presidential Cabinet.” Morsi had previously wanted to ban women from the presidency, but before the election, he promised to stand for women’s rights if he became president.
As Tahrir Square celebrations fade, the Islamist president must confront his fiercest opponent—the military. Vivian Salama on whether Mohamed Morsi can bring change to Egypt.
With millions of people still flooding the streets of Egypt in a frenzied celebration over the results of the historic presidential election, Mohamed Morsi delivered his first televised address to the nation. Standing behind a tall podium marked with the presidential seal only hours after he was named the winner, he called for national reconciliation between fractured political powers. Morsi vowed to be president to all Egyptians in an effort to win the confidence of the 12 million people who voted for his opponent, Ahmed Shafiq, and the disenfranchised millions who abstained from casting a ballot. “I am aware of the challenges which face us now, but I'm sure if we work together, with your support, we will be able to pass through this transitional moment,” Morsi said in his victory speech.
Egyptians celebrate the victory of Mohamed Morsi in Cairo's Tahrir Square, June 25, 2012. (Thomas Hartwell / AP Photo)
The roller-coaster presidential race now behind him, Morsi, 60, must confront his fiercest opponent yet: the military. Days before the electoral runoff, the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) took several measures to consolidate power and limit civil rights, sparking outrage that drew tens of thousands of protesters back to Tahrir Square and around the nation. The Islamist-dominated parliament was dissolved a mere two days before voters went to the polls. The military also passed a decree stating that it—and not the president—will preside over the national budget, particularly with regard to defense. (Egypt receives $1.3 billion annually in military aid from the U.S.) Finally, it ruled that military officers can arrest civilians—a decision that was overturned Tuesday in an early victory for Morsi. The move kicked off the latest phase of Egypt's revolution under conditions of great uncertainty, with no parliament, no constitution, and a preemptively weakened president.
Mohamed Morsi wins Egypt's election
Agreeing on the fundamental principles that will guide Egypt’s future may be easier than finding the people to implement them. Boycotts and bitter allegations tarnished initial efforts to form a constitutional committee. The makeup of the panel has been a sore spot for secular activists and politicians after the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party and the more hardline Al Nour Party claimed most of the seats. After months of wrangling, a new assembly was named just days before the presidential election, including representatives from most political parties, the country’s Islamic and Christian institutions, formerly jailed opposition members—even actors and artists.
The 100-member multiparty committee has already begun its work ahead of Morsi’s July 1 inauguration in an effort to rewrite the constitution with greater emphasis on a balance of powers between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches and the military. Defining the role of the president is particularly urgent as Morsi prepares to take office, with questions still lingering over term limits, whether or not he should have legislative powers, and his dynamic with the military. The military last week issued an "addendum" to a constitutional declaration written last year, stating that it can dissolve the constituent assembly if the governing body confronts any hurdles.
Morsi was elected Egypt’s president because voters wanted a clean break with the past, but it is far from clear how well he can unite his deeply divided country, writes Tarek Masoud.
This week, the Presidential Elections Commission, the judicial body that oversaw Egypt’s first relatively free and fair contest for the country’s top job, finally certified Mohamed Morsi Eissa al-Ayat, the candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, as the victor. The election had actually concluded a week prior, and while the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) announced its candidate’s triumph almost immediately, the PEC demurred, first saying it would release the result last Thursday, and then postponing until Sunday. Many believed that the delay was that so the judges, and Egypt’s ruling military junta, could figure out a way to cook the numbers to show a Morsi defeat.
This was not the first time that Morsi has had to cool his heels in limbo while a judge would figure out whether (or how) to steal an election from him. I first met Morsi eight years ago, when he was running for reelection to Egypt’s 454-man Parliament. A representative from the Nile delta town of Zagazig, he had been one of 17 Muslim Brotherhood legislators, and had earned a reputation as one of the body’s most vociferous critics of the government of Hosni Mubarak. Perhaps because of this, the word on Morsi’s campaign was that his seat was not safe, and that the regime was intent on removing him from the assembly.
The night of the election, I (and what felt like a thousand Muslim Brothers) stood outside the building in which the votes were being tallied by the judge (in the 2000 and 2005 elections, judicial oversight of vote counting was thought to provide a modicum of integrity to the process). Morsi and his opponent were inside the station, observing the judge do his work. Throughout the evening, we received reports on what was going on inside from a Brother who was in cellphone contact with Morsi or one of his aides. At one point, we began to hear that the numbers were showing a Morsi victory. Shortly afterward, we heard that the judge was now on the phone with superiors in Cairo. Finally, the word came that the judge had been ordered to swap the two candidates’ figures, and Morsi was arguing with him, pleading with him to fear God and do the right thing. The judge, who likely had plenty of more worldly things to fear if he actually took Morsi’s advice, was reportedly apologetic. As he put pen to paper to complete the foul deed, he allegedly turned to Morsi and said, “All I ask is that if you want to curse someone, please just curse me and not my children.”
Mohamed Morsi was elected Egypt’s president because voters wanted a clean break with the past, but it is unclear how well he can unite his deeply divided country. (Egypt State TV / AP Photo)
By the time Morsi emerged from the building, we all knew what had happened, and I remember thinking that the crowd was going to erupt in violence—they were Islamic “fundamentalists” after all. But instead of a call to revenge or mayhem, Morsi gave a short speech in which he recounted regime abuses, celebrated the fact that the Brotherhood had as a whole won more than five times their old number of seats in the assembly, and then asked everyone to go home peacefully. With tears in their eyes, they did. Who could have predicted that a mere seven years later, Morsi would face the same scenario, except this time it would go his way and hand him the presidency?
Morsi assumes Egypt’s highest office at an incredibly dangerous time in the country’s history. The ruling military junta, which had earlier promised to hand over power at the end of June, now seems unlikely to go anywhere. A judicial decision to dissolve Egypt’s Parliament in the days before the presidential election means that legislative authority reverts to the generals, and they can be expected to make their voices heard. Meanwhile, the political landscape remains bitterly divided—not just between supporters of the two presidential candidates, but between young and old, urban and rural, between those who want Islamic law and those who don’t, and between those who want gradual change and those who want radical transformation.
With Morsi winning the election, some fear Egypt is heading for Islamic-fascist rule. By Erin Banco.
CAIRO—Nada Badrawy leaned on a wall covered with graffiti of slogans and scenes from the 2011 revolution as she looked on to the tens of thousands of people in Tahrir Square. They were all waiting for the official announcement of who would become Egypt’s next president—a moment that they never thought possible just 16 months ago. She listened to Farouk Sultan, chairman of the Supreme Constitutional Court, deliver his speech through her red Samsung phone, its antennae stretched all the way out. Sultan's voice cracked through her speaker. "Khalas," she said. Sultan’s speech had dragged on for more than 45 minutes, and the people of Egypt had waited long enough.
"I really hope for Shafiq," Badrawy said. "I really hope." But finally, after an hour of waiting, Sultan announced the news everyone had been waiting for.
Mohamed Morsi would become the next president of Egypt.
Cheers erupted from the crowd as the results were read. Those who were sitting in local cafés watching Sultan’s speech ran to join the celebration. Men and women embraced each other, yelling “Allahu akbar.” Grown men wept, and some, even in the middle of the chaos, kneeled on the ground and prayed.
With that, Badrawy let out an angry sigh, and slammed her phone shut. Morsi won the presidency, but she said if there is one thing that she has learned over the past year and a half, it is that nothing in Egyptian politics is ever certain.
Morsi, who is the first Islamist elected as head of state, won with 13,230,131 votes against Shafiq’s 12,347,380. Polls officially closed the night of June 17 and initial results pointed to Morsi as the clear leader.
Cairo erupted in cheers for Egypt’s first-ever president-elect—but the country is still fractured. Vivian Salama on the tough road ahead for the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi.
In a victory 84 years in the making, Mohamed Morsi, a U.S.-educated engineer and head of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm in Egypt, was officially named the country’s first-ever president-elect, 16 months after Egyptians ousted their president of 30 years, Hosni Mubarak, in a popular revolt. The victory positions Islamists to lead renewed calls for revolution against the military rulers, accused by many of hatching a soft coup to monopolize power.
Morsi clenched the presidency with 51.73 percent of the vote, while his opponent Ahmed Shafiq, the last prime minister to serve under Mubarak, earned 48.24 percent, according to Farouq Sultan, head of the election commission and chairman of the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt. Euphoria instantly erupted in Tahrir Square as tens of thousands of Morsi supporters and pro-revolutionaries shot off fireworks, waved flags, and cheered in a frenzied celebration. Drivers honked car horns, and people ran through the streets shouting “God is great!”
“This is the happiest day of my life,” said Salah El-Din, 28, a Morsi supporter celebrating in Tahrir Square. “Dr. Morsi will defeat the military, and the power will belong to the people again.”
Celebrations extended to the neighboring Gaza Strip as well, where supporters of Hamas, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, rejoiced at news of an Islamist Egyptian president.
Morsi, who earned a doctorate in engineering from the University of Southern California, is considered a soft power in the Muslim Brotherhood and has long been overshadowed by more conservative members of the group. He has run on a free-market platform, but with a heavy emphasis on improving social services. While his official platform does not mention the military, he has repeatedly said that no institution will be above the Constitution once he is sworn in July 1. He has vowed to support the Palestinian people in their struggle for statehood, and while he has made provocative comments about Israel, once calling it a “vampire” state, he has repeatedly promised that the Camp David accords will remain untouched.
The Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi wins Egypt's election
Muslim Brotherhood candidate.
Mohamed Morsi has been declared the winner of Egypt’s presidential election, the first Islamist head of state to rise from the Arab Spring uprisings. Morsi was declared the victor over former prime minister and Mubarak ally Ahmed Shafiq by nearly 1 million votes. Morsi is the candidate from the political wing of the popular Muslim Brotherhood, and there had been widespread threat of violence if Morsi had not been declared the winner. Cairo’s Tahrir Square erupted in cheers upon the news of Morsi’s victory. Egypt’s Army ruler for the past year, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, has already congratulated Morsi on his victory, Egyptian state television reported.
But ruling military warns of firm response.
Thousands of Egyptians packed into Cairo’s Tahrir Square—the site of the famous revolution that toppled President Hosni Mubarak’s regime—on Friday as they awaited the results of the nation’s first presidential election. While the ruling military said Egyptians have the right to assemble peacefully in the square, they said they will “deal firmly” with attempts to harm the public interest. Members of Egypt’s powerful Muslim Brotherhood party camped out overnight in the square, and they expected to be joined later in the afternoon by secular protesters. The Muslim Brotherhood has claimed their candidate for president, Mohamed Morsi, is the “legitimate” winner of the election, although Mubarak’s former deputy, Ahmed Shafiq, has declared himself the victor. The official results are expected this weekend.
Egyptians went to the polls May 23–24 to pick a democratically elected president—not only the first election since the fall of Hosni Mubarak, but the first of its kind in the country's 5,000-year history.
Egypt’s high court ruled the Islamist Parliament must dissolve immediately. By Vivian Salama.
A Country in Turmoil
Dan Ephron on Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, who may be Egypt’s next president.