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Monday, June 18, 2012

Islamist Claims Victory in Egypt President Vote

(AP) CAIRO - The Muslim Brotherhood declared early Monday that its candidate, Mohammed Morsi, won Egypt's presidential election, which would be the first victory of an Islamist as head of state in the stunning wave of protests demanding democracy that swept the Middle East the past year. But the military handed itself the lion's share power over the new president, sharpening the possibility of confrontation.

With parliament dissolved and martial law effectively in force, the generals issued an interim constitution making themselves Egypt's lawmakers, taking control over the budget and granting themselves the power to determine who writes the permanent constitution that will define the country's future.

But as they claimed victory over Hosni Mubarak's last prime minister Ahmed Shafiq after a deeply polarizing election, the Brotherhood challenged the military's power grab. The group insisted on Sunday that it did not recognize the dissolution of parliament or the military's interim constitution — or its right to oversee the drafting of a new one.

That pointed to a potential struggle over spheres of authority between Egypt's two strongest forces. The Brotherhood has campaigned on a platform of bringing Egypt closer to a form of Islamic rule, but the military's grip puts it in a position to block that. Instead any conflict would likely center on more basic questions of power.

In a victory speech at his campaign headquarters, Morsi clearly sought to assuage fears of a large sector of Egyptians that the Brotherhood will try to impose stricter provisions of Islamic law. He said he seeks "stability, love and brotherhood for the Egyptian civil, national, democratic, constitutional and modern state" and made no mention of Islamic law.

"Thank God who led successfully us to this blessed revolution. Thank God who guided the people of Egypt to this correct path, the road of freedom, democracy," the bearded, 60-year-old U.S.-educated engineer declared.

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