Islamist Mohamed Morsi has won the election for Egypt’s president, a closely contested runoff election. Both candidates who competed claimed early victory, and the delay in the official announcement held the nation’s nervous attention until official results were announced Sunday, reports the AP.
Morsi became Egypt’s Islamist president after narrowly defeating Hosni Mubarak’s last Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq in what amounted to the freest election the country has ever seen. The closely contested race raised political tensions all across Egypt, with Al Jazeera’s Live Blog tracking reactions to the predictions and results via Twitter in real time.
Egypt has had four presidents in the last 60 years. All of them have come up through the military, so the election of Morsi is at least historically significant in that this is the first time Egypt will be lead by a freely elected Islamist citizen. “Dr. Mohamed Morsi has won the presidency, and a new era in Egypt and the Arab world has begun,” said the official Muslim Brotherhood Twitter account moments after the announcement of Morsi’s victory. Supporters of Morsi supporters gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square cheered and danced after hearing the results read on live TV. Doves were released with Morsi’s picture through the same square where Egypt’s revolutionaries ousted Mubarak last year, reports Yahoo!.
“We got to this moment because of the blood of the martyrs of the revolution,” said Morsi’s spokesman Ahmed Abdel-Attie. “Egypt will start a new phase in its history.”
The election commission said that Morsi won with 51.7% of the vote while Shafiq got 48.3%. Turnout was 51% approximately.
This outcome will not automatically solve the tensions between the Muslim Brotherhood and military leaders who took control after Mubarak, while the country was supposed to transition into a democratic system. Still, it’s an important step, with the election commissioner calling Morsi’s election “an important phase in the end of building our nascent democratic experience.”