CAIRO: Despite the hotness of Sunday afternoon, Egyptians remained at the famous Tahrir Square singing “Freedom & Justice” as Muhammad Muhammad Mursi Issa Al-‘Ayyaat, leader of the Islamic Brotherhood’s Justice and Freedom Party (JFP) in Egypt was declared the new president of Egypt on Sunday, 24th June 2012/4th Sha’ban 1433, following the first democratic election ever held in Egypt’s history.
The announcement triggered massive cheers and celebratory gunfire inCairo’sTahrir Square.
Authorities had been on “high alert” for potential violence if his rival Ahmed Shafiq won. Instead, the huge crowd erupted in celebration — even in scorching temperatures near 100 Fahrenheit (38 Celsius).
Mursi had 13,230,131 votes, while Shafiq — the last prime minister to serve under ousted president Hosni Mubarak — had 12347380, election officials announced.
Mursi ended up with just under 52% of the vote, while Shafiq got just over 48%, officials said.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, on Facebook, called the election result a “tribute to the martyrs of our revolution.” It vowed, “We will keep walking on the path.”
On Twitter, the Muslim Brotherhood said the “battle for democracy” and justice hasn’t ended, and “we will remain” in Tahrir.
The presidency is largely a figurehead position, as the country’s military rulers maintain much of the control over the country.
“We’ve been waiting for it for 7,000 years,” a fellow member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, Abdul Mawgoud Dardery said.
He also said. “For the first time in history we have our own president, elected by us. The power of the people is now in the hands of the president — and the president has to go and move forward.”
Dardery called on Mursi to resign from the Muslim Brotherhood to make it clear he is the president of all Egyptians.
Sunday’s announcement came after a very long speech by Farouq Sultan, head of the Higher Presidential Election Commission, in which he defended the electoral process and discussed reports of irregularities and how they were handled.
The only gunfire heard fromTahrir Squareafter the announcement was celebratory. The square was the site of mass protests last year that toppled Mubarak.
Sunday’s celebration showed the kind of public support for the Muslim Brotherhood that would have gotten demonstrators thrown in jail under Mubarak.
But in a country split between the two candidates, many were angered by the election result.
A group of Shafiq supporters at a hotel were devastated by the result. One threw something at the screen as the announcement came.
Manal Koshkani, a Shafiq supporter at the hotel, told CNN that she and others “fear” the direction the ‘Islamist’ party, the Muslim Brotherhood, could takeEgypt.
“I hope we see a better future” Mursi, she said, adding, “I highly doubt it.”
Mursi, born on 20th August 1951, is the first president ever elected by the people in Egypt, from among other presidents since 1953. The first was Muhammad Najuib, one of the leaders of the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, who took office on 18 June 1953, the day on which Egypt was declared a republic. Since then the office has been held by three further people: Gamal Abdel Nasser, Anwar El Sadat, and Hosni Mubarak. In addition, Sufi Abu Taleb acted as President between Sadat’s assassination and the election of his successor.
Following Hosni Mubarak’s resignation on 11 February 2011 after the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, the office had been vacant (for more than a year), with the functions of head of state and head of government being discharged by the Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, currently Field Marshal Muhammad Hussein Tantawi.
The presidential term length of Eypt is 4 years.
Sources: ertu (Egypt Radio-TV Union), Al-Akhbaar, Al-Ahraam, & Al-Youm Sabea Newspapers