Cairo (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Mohammed Morsi, leader of the Freedom and Justice party (of the Muslim Brotherhood) has won the first presidential elections of the post-Mubarak era. According to official figures published this afternoon by the election commission, he beat his challenger, Shafiq Ahmed, former Premier of the regime and favored by the military, with 51.3% of the vote.
Tens of thousands of supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi this morning have crowded the main squares in the country, including Tahrir Square, the symbolic place of the Jasmine revolution. Immediately after the announcement of his victory, the crowd shouted "Allahu Akbar" (God is great) and other Islamist songs, which have now replaced the slogans in favor of democracy, human rights and the Secular State sung by the young protagonists of the Arab Spring. About 2,000 supporters of Ahmed Shafik gathered instead in the district of Nasr City (Cairo), contesting the results of the vote. To avoid clashes between Islamists and supporters of Ahmed Shafiq, the army has deployed thousands of soldiers, announcing that it will impose a curfew in the case of tension.
In a statement, the newly elected president announced he would form an inclusive government comprising all elements of Egyptian society and appealed to all Egyptians, Muslims and Christians, to participate in the construction of the new Egypt. To reassure the minority Coptic Christians, Morsi promised he does not want to turn the country into a theocracy, and that he wishes to respect the rights of other religions, while reserving to Islam a central portion of the Government.
Morsi, 60, studied engineering in the United States. On account of his membership in the Islamist movement, he spent several years in prison during the early years of the Mubarak government. After the fall of the regime, Morsy collaborated in founding the Justice and Freedom Party, the political expression of the Islamic movement that won the parliamentary elections, which were recently annulled, with more than 50% of the vote. He replaced in the Egyptian presidential race Kairat al-Shater, the architect of the campaign of the Muslim Brotherhood, who was prevented from running because he is an ex-con.
The results of the presidential vote were to already have been announced on June 22, but the Election Commission preferred to wait because of tensions between Islamists and the army, after the cancellation of the parliamentary elections also won by the Islamists. Fearing another victory for the Muslim Brotherhood, on June 17 - a few hours before the closure of the polling stations - the army passed an amendment reducing the powers of the president and giving the military the power to appoint a new Constituent Assembly, manage foreign funding and call new parliamentary elections.