Islamist claims victory in Egyptian election

Sarah El Deeb and Lee Keath / The Associated Press /

Published Jun 18, 2012 at 05:00AM

CAIRO — The Muslim Brotherhood declared early today 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 a narrow 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, where it was the largest party. It also said it rejects the military’s interim constitution and its right to oversee the drafting of a new one.

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.