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Morsi Confirmed as Egyptian President
June 24, 2012

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Mohammed Morsi is the new President of Egypt.

The candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood was elected with 51.7 percent of the vote, besting former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq, who tallied 48.3 percent. The Egyptian Election Commission released figures showing that turnout was 51 percent. A huge number of people did not vote for either candidate.

Morsi, whose qualifications include a stint teaching engineering at a college in California and at a university in Egypt, faces an uncertain set of responsibilities, mainly because the country's new constitution hasn't been written.

The Muslim Brotherhood and fellow Islamists the Salafis swept to a majority of seats in both houses of Parliament in the January elections, but a recent decision by the country's high court invalidated a full one-third of the elections in the People's Assembly because the seats were supposed to be filled by candidates unaffiliated with any political party. Seizing an opportunity, the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces dissolved the entire Parliament, saying that new elections were needed.

The ruling generals also assumed full legislative authority and most powers reserved for the president and also vowed to appoint their own constitution-writing assembly.

In Cairo's Tahrir Square, home to so many protests in the waning days of the Mubarak presidency, people were jubilant if relieved. An independent poll had showed that Morsi had won. Many protesters and observers were concerned, however, in the wake of a delay in the announcement of results, that yet another results-rigging would hand the victory to Shafiq, who came to be viewed as a symbol of the old guard. The protesters did, however, insist on remaining until the MPs were reinstated.

Morsi, 60, is the country's first freely elected President. During the 20th and early 21st Centuries, the country had been ruled by the military and then military-approved leaders. Former President Hosni Mubarak, whose ouster was a major result of the so-called "Arab Spring" in early 2011, was the beneficiary of multiple election victories, but those results were widely regarded as pre-ordained.

Morsi, who years ago was thrown in jail for violating Mubarak's emergency laws, wasn't even supposed to be in the final tally. The Brotherhood's preferred candidate, Khairat el-Shater, was disqualified weeks before the first round of elections. The Brotherhood then got behind Morsi, propelling him through the first round and into the resulting runoff, and over the line with enough votes to claim victory. Final tallies showed that Morsi won by 880,000 votes, out of multiple millions cast.

In his victory speech, Morsi who resigned from the Brotherhood in order to show that he would represent the entire spectrum of the country, insisted that he would be sworn in only in front of a seated Parliament. Morsi also indicated that he would respect his country's longstanding treaty with Israel but insisted that the agreement needed review as well.

A series of announcements, the result of negotiations with the ruling generals, are expected soon. One report had Nobel laureate Mohamed El-Baradei, who was once considered a popular presidential candidate, tipped to become Prime Minister.

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