CAIRO – The Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi has claimed victory in Egypt’s first post-uprising presidential race. But the rival camp of old guard candidate Ahmed Shafiq disputes the unofficial results, while the ruling military council claimed sweeping powers, throwing this major test of the nation’s transition into doubt.
Morsi’s claim was one it a series of a stunning series of events in the turmoil that has attended Egypt’s historic poll.
Just after the polls closed, the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces issued a constitutional declaration, granting itself legislative powers, control over the economy and the right to pick who will draft the next constitution.
With presidential powers still unclear, and the Islamist-dominated lower parliament dissolved by court order Thursday, any victory Morsi might have when official results are announced later in the week would seem compromised from the start.
Victory Claim Disputed
Meanwhile, Shafiq’s campaign asserted the former Air Force commander and last prime minister under the old government had a slight lead over Morsi.
At a news conference early Monday, Morsi called for calm, saying he is seeking stability and love in a civic, national democratic and modern state.
He did not speak out against the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces latest moves. But his supporters, along with liberals, activists and some more conservative Islamists decried the SCAF’s actions as a “coup.”
The declaration also appeared to set out a timeframe for writing the constitution and holding new elections for parliament – raising the possibility that Egypt’s state of limbo, now already 16 months, could continue until nearly the end of the year.
Voter turnout in the two-day runoff election was low, an apparent sign of little enthusiasm about the two choices, neither of which many voters said represents their vision for the country’s future. VOA