AL MASRY AL YOUM (Egypt), AL ARABIYA (Saudi Arabia), THE GUARDIAN (UK)
CAIRO - Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi claimed a narrow victory in the Egyptian presidential elections Monday, but pushback from his opponent and constitutional maneuvering from the Army leave Egypt's democratic transition as fragile as ever.
Morsi garnered 51.13 percent of the vote with 99 percent of the ballots counted, according to Al Masry Al Youm's affiliate, Egypt Independent. His opponent Ahmed Shafik, former presdident Hosni Mubarak's last Prime Minister and the Army's favored candidate, talllied 48.87 percent.
Thanks be to God who has guided Egypts people to the path of freedom and democracy, uniting the Egyptians for a better future, Morsi said in a speech at his campaign headquarters. He said he would be the president of all Egyptians.
The Muslim Brotherhood also announced their victory on their official Twitter account.
We project Dr. Mohamed Morsi as the winner of the presidential elections in Egypt with 12.7 million votes (52.5%)#EgyPresElex Ikhwanweb (@Ikhwanweb) June 18, 2012
Shafik's aides quickly contested the results, Al Arabiya reports. A campaign official rejected the Brotherhood's proclaimed victory and told reporters it was a "hijacking of the election results."
Military authorities were even quicker to act, announcing important constitutional changes late on Sunday night when early results pointed to a Brotherhood victory. The Guardian reports that these changes strengthen the Army's political power in an attempt to negate the outcome of this weekend's election.
The Supreme Council of Armed Forces, or SCAF, has effectively awarded itself legislative powers in the process of writing a new constitution, including a veto over any clause it deems contrary to Egypt's interests. This "judicial coup" comes after a surprise ruling last week by the Supreme Constitutional Court that invalidated a third of the seats in the Islamist dominated lower house of Parliament, forcing a dissolution.
In addition to the Army clamp on presidential powers, the first democratically elected leader of Egypt will face economic and political challenges. Many Egyptians who gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square last year to overthrow Mubarak's regime feel that both Morsi and Shafik represent conservative forces opposed to the revolution.