The Muslim Brotherhood, which has been making political moves since the Arab Spring, is now atop Egyptian politics (at least symbolically). Its presidential candidate, Mohamed Morsi, was declared today the winner of the country’s first democratic presidential election.
Morsi ended up with just under 52% of the vote, while Shafik 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.
Still, the vote was “a moment in history,” said Abdul Mawgoud Dardery, a fellow member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party.
“We’ve been waiting for it for 7,000 years,” he 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.”
I’m a bit confused by that historical reference. Islamic history predates Muhammad and the 7th century, but neither Jews nor Christians, with whom Muslims share their Abrahamic origins, consider Abraham to have lived more than 4,000 years ago. Regardless, this is a milestone in Muslim politics, at least in Egypt.
There were many concerned about the Muslim Brotherhood rising to power in a post-Mubarak Egypt—not least of all Coptic Christians and Israel. But the Muslim Brotherhood may have been the better of two Islamist options.
For what it’s worth, Morsi’s spokesman told Al Jazeera that Egypt’s government will be secular:
“In terms of the relationship with politics and religion, yes,” el Haddad said. “There will be no religious dominance over political decisions whatsoever.”
More on Morsi, and questions about his power in light of the military government, in this Reuters profile.