Morsi Named Egypt's President

By  | 

CAIRO - The freest elections in Egypt's history have produced the country's first Islamist president.

The country's election commission has declared Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi the winner of last week's presidential runoff. He won just under 52 percent of the vote, to 48 percent for former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq.

It was the culmination of the tumultuous first phase of a transition launched 16 months ago with the uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak. A ruling military council headed by Mubarak's defense minister of 20 years replaced the autocratic leader.

A spokesman for the new leader's campaign says the revolution has passed an important test, but he adds, "the road is still long."

A new struggle with the military is expected, aimed at restoring the powers that the ruling generals stripped from the presidency before the victor was declared.

The outcome was also not the one desired by most of the liberal and secular youth groups that drove the uprising.

Morsi will now have to calm public fears that he will push to remake Egypt as an Islamist state and show that he will represent a broader cross-section of the Egyptian public.

In his first televised speech on state TV, Morsi pledged Sunday to preserve Egypt's international accords, a reference to the peace deal with Israel.

He paid tribute to nearly 900 protesters killed in last year's uprising, saying without the "blood of the martyrs," he would not have made it to the presidency.

In a non-confrontational speech, he did not mention the last-minute power grab by the ruling military that stripped the president of most of his major powers.