The political limbo in Egypt is over. Mohammed Morsi, the candidate for the Muslim Brotherhood, has been declared the country's first elected leader.

"He [Morsi] is a little lacklustre, not very charismatic and there are fears that it's going to be a weak presidency. And [there is] the fact that it was not him, like Khairat al-Shater would have, who pulled the Brotherhood into a victory as much as it's the Brotherhood that has taken him into a victory."

- Hisham Kassem, a veteran journalist and publisher

The announcement by the electoral commission ends a week of uncertainty in a country without a parliament or a constitution, and with a barely functioning economy.

A delay in the run-off results, which had been due on Thursday, raised widespread suspicions that the vote tally was being negotiated rather than counted.

On Saturday, the authorities reviewed about 400 reports of electoral violations submitted by Morsi and the other candidate, Ahmed Shafiq.

As the run-off round last week produced no clear winner, Egypt's Supreme Military Council (SCAF) issued a series of amendments to its own constitutional declaration that effectively limit the powers of the country's incoming president.

The amendments took place after the supreme constitutional court had dissolved the lower house of parliament, which was controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood.

While both presidential candidates claimed victory in the elections, their supporters gathered in different parts of Cairo - reflecting the division within Egyptian society.

"Their [the Muslim Brotherhood's] performance in parliament was between laughably comic and hilarious, and cannot be taken seriously on a political level .... Is Morsi a wise and seasoned politician? Again, there is no experience."

- Adel Darwish, a journalist and political analyst

Morsi called for Egyptians to gather at Tahrir Square until the military revoked orders curbing the civilian-elected president's powers and reinstating parliament. His supporters include liberal groups and youth parties who decided that backing him would be the lesser of two evils, since they reject the return of Shafiq, the former regime's prime minister. They claim Morsi will include all of the revolution's political factions in his future government.

On the other side, Shafiq's supporters gathered in Nasr City around the memorial of the Unknown Soldier. They claim that around 800,000 people were there, including the leftist parties who did not trust the Muslim Brotherhood and who argue that Shafiq would be the lesser of two evils.

Inside Story asks: So can the new president handle the enormous challenges Egypt is facing, with very limited powers and with little or no support? And, is it the end of the transition or the end of the revolution?

Joining presenter Stephen Cole to discuss this are guests: Hisham Kassem, a veteran journalist and publisher; Waleed El-Haddad, a member of the foreign relations committee for the Freedom and Justice Party and a spokesperson for Morsi's presidential campaign; and Adel Darwish, the political editor of The Middle East magazine and a political analyst.

"Dr Mohammed Morsi will go directly to have a coalition from different forces to form his government and presidential council, and he will take into consideration that there is a portion of people who didn't elect him."

Waleed El-Haddad in Cairo, a member of the Freedom and Justice Party


  • After taking the oath of office, Morsi will face a number of political, social and economic challenges, but the main issue is how much power the new president will actually have.
  • A couple of days before the run-off Egypt's high court ordered the dissolution of the Islamist-dominated parliament.
  • Then as the polls were closing, the generals who run the country issued an interim constitutional declaration granting themselves all legislative powers and at the same time reinforcing their role in drafting a permanent constitution. The document also exempted the military from civilian oversight.
  • On June 18, Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, the head of Egypt's Supreme Military Council announced the re-establishment of a National Defence Council, putting the generals in charge of Egypt's national security policy.

Source: Al Jazeera