Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
News, June 2012
Mohammed Morsi, Officially Announced Egypt's President
June 24, 2012
The name of the newly-elected Egyptian President should be written as "Muhammed Mursi" if the standard Arabic pronunciation is observed. However, names in English are usually written first by government's clerks, who issue passports.
These may not be as accurate as they should be. This may explain to non-Arabs the various ways of writing Arabic names, such as the case of the newly-elected Egyptian President, whose name is incorrectly written as "Mohammed Morsi" instead of "Muhammed Mursi."
Muslim Brotherhood candidate Morsi wins Egypt presidency
By Kathryn STAPLEY ,
FRANCE 24 correspondent reporting from Cairo (video)
News Wires (text)
June 24, 2012
Muslim Brotherhood member Mohamed Morsi was on Sunday declared the first president of Egypt since a popular uprising ousted Hosni Mubarak, capping a tumultuous and divisive military-led transition.
Morsi, who ran against Mubarak-era minister Ahmed Shafiq, won 51.73 percent of the vote after a race that had polarised the nation.
Arab leaders welcome Morsi election in Egypt
Arab governments and leaders welcomed on Sunday the election of the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi as Egypt's first president following the ouster of Hosni Mubarak.
There was celebratory gunfire in the Gaza Strip, which borders Egypt and is ruled by Hamas which has its roots in the Brotherhood and close ties with it. Senior Hamas official Mahmud Zahar told AFP the victory was "a historic moment and a new era in the history of Egypt," as Gazans cheered and fired volleys of celebratory gunfire in the streets of the coastal enclave.
The United Arab Emirates likewise welcomed Morsi's victory, urging "stability" in the north African nation, which is the Arab world's most populous, state news agency WAM reported. Becoming Egypt's first post-uprising president, the Muslim Brotherhood's Morsi won 51.73 percent of the vote, defeating Ahmed Shafiq, who was toppled strongman Hosni Mubarak's last premier.
"The winner of the election for Egyptian president on June 16-17 is Mohamed Morsi Eissa al-Ayat," said head of the electoral commission Faruq Sultan.
Morsi's victory marks the first time Islamists have taken the presidency of the Arab World’s most populous nation, but recent moves by the ruling military to consolidate its power have rendered the post toothless.
Thousands of Morsi supporters who had packed into Cairo's Tahrir Square erupted in celebration, waving flags and posters of the Islamist leader.
"God is greatest" and "down with military rule" they chanted as some set off firecrackers minutes after the electoral commission formally declared the result.
Across Cairo, cars sounded their horns and chants of "Morsi, Morsi" were heard.
Morsi won with 13,230,131 votes against Shafiq's 12,347,380, Sultan said. The election, in which more than 50 million voters were eligible to cast their ballot, saw a 51.8 percent turnout.
Military ruler Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, who took power when Hosni Mubarak was forced to resign in February last year, congratulated Morsi on his win, state television announced.
Shafiq supporters who had gathered to hear the result with his campaign team in the suburbs of Cairo were devastated by the result.
Some women screamed and others cried as several men held their heads between their hands in despair.
"It's a very sad day for Egypt. I don't think Morsi is the winner, I'm very sad that Egypt will be represented by this man and this group," Shafiq supporter Maged told AFP after the result.
The capital was tense before the announcement, with the city's notoriously busy streets deserted and shops and schools closed.
Extra troops and police were deployed as military helicopters flew overhead.
The road to parliament was closed to traffic, and security was tightened around vital establishments as Egyptians waited nervously for the result.
The election has polarised the nation, dividing those who feared a return to the old regime under Shafiq from others who wanted to keep religion out of politics and who fear the Brotherhood would stifle personal freedoms.
Shafiq ran on a strong law-and-order platform, pledging to restore security and stability. He is himself a retired general, but as a Mubarak-era minister he is reviled by the activists who spearheaded the 2011 revolt.
Egypt's electoral commission declares Mohammed Morsi winner of the presidential run-off
President-elect Morsi was the Islamists' fallback representative after their deputy leader Khairat El-Shater was disqualified.
In campaigning he sought to allay the fears of secular groups and the sizeable Coptic Christian minority by promising a diverse and inclusive political system.
On Saturday, two massive Cairo protests duelled for supremacy.
Thousands of Brotherhood supporters thronged Tahrir Square, with hundreds spending the night there. "Morsi, Morsi, God is the Greatest," they chanted.
Across the city in the Nasr City neighbourhood, thousands of Shafiq supporters held up pictures of him and of Tantawi, chanting: "The people and the army are one."
"Down with the rule of the Supreme Guide," they shouted, referring to the head of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Both Morsi and Shafiq had claimed victory in the election for a successor to Mubarak, and tensions heightened after the electoral commission delayed announcing the official outcome.
On Friday, the SCAF warned it would deal "with utmost firmness and strength" with any attempts to harm public interests.
The Brotherhood warned against tampering with the election results, but also said it had no intention of instigating violence.
It has rejected a constitutional declaration by the military that strips away any gains made by the Islamist group since the popular uprising which forced Mubarak to stand down in February last year.
The document dissolves the Islamist-led parliament and gives the army a broad say in government policy and control over the new constitution. It was adopted just days after a justice ministry decree granted the army powers of arrest.
Islamist joy as Morsy elected Egypt president
By Shaimaa Fayed and Marwa Awad
Sunday, June 24, 2012, 2:15pm EDT
CAIRO (Reuters) -
Islamist Mohamed Morsy was declared Egypt's first freely elected president on Sunday, sparking joy among his Muslim Brotherhood supporters on the streets who vowed to continue a struggle to take power from the generals who retain ultimate control.
Morsy defeated former general Ahmed Shafik in a run-off last weekend by a convincing 3.5 percentage points, or nearly 900,000 votes, taking 51.7 percent of the total, officials said, ending a week of disputes over the count which left nerves frayed.
He succeeds Hosni Mubarak, who was overthrown 16 months ago after a popular uprising. The military council which has ruled the biggest Arab nation since then has this month curbed the powers of the presidency, meaning the head of state will have to work closely with the army on a planned democratic constitution.
Brotherhood officials, speaking as supporters turned Cairo's Tahrir Square into a roaring sea of flags and chants of "Allahu akbar!" (God is greatest), said they would press on with protest vigils to demand that the ruling military council cancel this month's dissolution of the Islamist-led parliament and a decree which gave the generals powers that will restrict the president.
"Speak! Have no fear! The military must go!" crowds chanted on Tahrir Square, seat of the Arab Spring revolution which prompted fellow officers to push Mubarak aside to appease the protesters.
There were some isolated scuffles in parts of Cairo between rival groups. Several hundred Shafik supporters in the middle-class suburb of Nasr City chanted "Save Egypt! The Brotherhood will destroy it!", while soldiers tried to keep traffic moving.
Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, who heads the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), called to congratulate the 60-year-old Morsy on his victory, state television said.
How these two men cooperate will determine Egypt's uncertain path from revolution to democracy and its relations with anxious Arab and Western allies: Tantawi was Mubarak's defense minister for 20 years and has been close to the Pentagon; Morsy, jailed more than once under the old regime, has a doctorate in engineering from the University of Southern California.
PROTESTS GO ON
"Morsy is the first truly democratically elected president in Egypt," Brotherhood official Yasser Ali told Reuters.
"He has the legitimacy and will sit down with the military council and all the political forces to resolve the outstanding issues over parliament and the constitutional decree and the newly imposed emergency law."
Another official at the movement's headquarters, Gihad Haddad, said demonstrations would also continue to press the army: "The peaceful protests will continue in the squares and across Egypt. The struggle for a new Egypt is just beginning."
Those who voted for Shafik as a bulwark against a religious rule that they fear will mean intolerance and alienation from the West were fearful: businessman Maged Abdel Wadud, 45, who had gathered with others at a hotel hoping to greet a victorious Shafik said: "This is a very bad day for Egypt.
"I am so so upset. I can't imagine this man becoming a president of Egypt. This is the beginning of the end for Egypt."
Western powers, and Israel, have been concerned about the Islamist turn in Egypt. But Washington and Europe, both big aid donors, have also pressed the military to accept democracy, while urging the Brotherhood to respect all Egyptians' rights.
"This is a truly historic moment for Egypt - a triumph over the politics of fear and prejudice," a senior Western diplomat said in Cairo. "Egypt has a civilian, democratically elected president for the first time in its history. The Muslim Brotherhood are far from a perfect organization, but Morsy's election represents a genuine result for the revolution."
He said he did not expect the movement to push its complaints so far as to provoke the military council to react and take from the presidency those powers it still has:
"The Muslim Brotherhood will take what they've got - a prize unimaginable to them 18 months ago," the diplomat said. "An imperfect presidency is way better than none at all.
"It's part of the new and delicate act of political compromise, part of Egypt's new cohabitation."
Half of those who voted in last month's first round of the election backed neither Morsy nor Shafik and many who voted in the run-off voted negatively - either against Morsy's religious agenda or against Shafik as a symbol of military rule.
Liberal member of parliament Amr Hamzawy said on Twitter: "I salute the elected president and I say to him that he faces a great mission: reassuring the 48 percent of the citizens who did not give their votes to him and that he becomes a president for all Egyptians, and he must guarantee democracy."
Alaa Al-Aswany, a novelist and liberal activist, tweeted: "Congratulations to the Egyptian people, congratulations to President Mohamed Morsy. I hope he keeps all of his promises.
"The will of the people was able to bring down the old regime once again. A salute to the revolution."
For Morsy, a U.S.-educated engineer who spent time in jail under Mubarak, a spokesman said: "This is a testament to the resolve of the Egyptian people to make their voice heard."
Shafik, a former air force commander and Mubarak's last prime minister, offered no immediate reaction. He has said he would offer to serve in a Morsy administration.
Morsy won the first round ballot in May with a little under a quarter of the vote. He has pledged to form an inclusive government to appeal to the many Egyptians, including a large Christian minority, who are anxious over religious rule.
"President Morsy will struggle to control the levers of state," Elijah Zarwan, senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, said in Cairo.
"He will likely face foot-dragging and perhaps outright attempts to undermine his initiatives from key institutions. Faced with such resistance, frustration may tempt him to fall into the trap of attempting to throw his new weight around," Zarwan told Reuters. "This would be a mistake.
"His challenge is to lead a bitterly divided, fearful, and angry population toward a peaceful democratic outcome, without becoming a reviled scapegoat for continued military rule."
Morsy has promised a moderate Islamist agenda to steer Egypt into a new democratic era where autocracy will be replaced by transparent government that respects human rights and revives the fortunes of a powerful Arab state long in decline. Morsy is promising an "Egyptian renaissance with an Islamic foundation".
Yet the stocky, bespectacled party official appears something of an accidental president: he was only flung into the race at the last moment by the disqualification on a technicality of Khairat al-Shater, the group's preferred choice.
With a stiff and formal style, Morsy cast himself as a reluctant latecomer to the race, who cited religious fear of judgment day as one of his reasons for running. He struggled to shake off his label as the Brotherhood's "spare tire".
Questions remain over the extent to which Morsy will operate independently of other Brotherhood leaders once in office: his manifesto was drawn up by the group's policymakers. The role Shater might play has been one focus of debate in Egypt.
"I will treat everyone equally and be a servant of the Egyptian people," Morsy said at his campaign headquarters in Cairo shortly after polling ended last Sunday.
But many Egyptians, not least the Christian minority, remain suspicious of Morsy and even more so of the group he represents. Anti-Brotherhood sentiment, fuelled by both a hostile media and some of the group's policies, has soared in recent weeks.
Turnout was only 51.8 percent of the 50 million-strong electorate, slightly up on the first round but indicative still of a nation unused to having its voice heard without risking punishment and uncertain of the worth of the candidates.
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