A week of high expectations came to a close on Sunday with the official announcement of the winner of the presidential election in Egypt. The crowd in Tahrir Square, the basin of last year’s uprising that saw the overthrow of President Mubarak, greeted the Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi as their country’s first democratically chosen civil leader.
On Sunday evening, Morsi said: “I am determined, with you, to build a new Egypt, a national state with a modern democratic constitution, and I will spend all my time on this great project, mindful of our identity and our points of reference.”
Morsi won just under 52 percent of the votes in the run-off ballot. But his endorsement by parliament is on shaky ground. The November-to-January legislative elections were won by Islamist parties, but the constitutional court invalidated the result, and the Armed Forces Supreme Council dissolved the assembly.
The Generals say they want to hand over power to the new president as swiftly as possible, but the head of state’s role is still undefined.
That is because Egypt’s new constitution does not yet exist. Mohammed Morsi will nevertheless be required to form a government, through dialogue with the Armed Forces Supreme Council’s Field Marshal Hussein Tantaoui.
To assess what lies ahead for Egypt under President Morsi, euronews spoke to political analyst Nashaat Al-Daihi in Cairo.
Adel Dellal, euronews: How can the new president do his job while the military council holds the reins of power in Egypt?
Nashaat Al-Daihi, Egyptian analyst: We have to wait for the elected president Mohammed Morsi to take office but the question is, who will be joining him?
In reality, there are many challenges at all levels, especially the elected president’s relationship with the military establishment – a military establishment that has been running the country for more than 60 years. That means that it is not going to give up power just like that. And President Morsi will need to maintain very good relations with this establishment because at the present time it is not looking to go quietly – but to retain its grip on power.
The generals think they are best-placed to maintain order in Egypt. They think the elected president lacks experience and is not up to speed on all the matters of state, notably the country’s security.
euronews: The lower house of parliament is in the hands of the military. If Egypt organises fresh legislative elections, can the Muslim Brotherhood win a majority?
Al-Daihi: It all depends on Morsi’s policies in the months ahead. If the President carries out rational policies with other political movements and the generals, as well as with the institutions of provincial Egypt, then I reckon the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamic movement will easily be able to get a majority.
But if Morsi takes a step backwards and clashes with political groups, as happened in the previous assembly, I think the Islamist movement could lose political ground and only win a third of the seats.
euronews: On the international front, will Egypt continue to implement its treaty with Israel?
Al-Daihi: I think any elected president in Egypt, whether military or civilian, must respect the premises of Egyptian foreign policy. The Camp David Treaty must not be interfered with. It can be modified by both sides but can’t be ignored because a peace treaty exists between Egypt and Israel, supported by the United States. And it seems to me that before, during and after the elections, and even yesterday, everyone agreed that Egypt will respect its international accords and treaties, because all of that goes beyond the simple realm of personalities. It is the choice of the Egyptian state.