Egyptian election results favor Muslim Brotherhood leader

(JTA) — Islamist candidate Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood was victorious in Egypt’s first democratic presidential election.

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Morsi defeated Ahmed Shafik, a former Air Force general and deposed President Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister, in the second round of polling.

Results from early Monday morning showed Morsi with 51.8 percent of the vote to Shafiq’s 48.1 percent with 98 percent of the more than 13,000 poll centers counted. Some 24.6 million votes were cast.

Official final results are not expected until Thursday. The Brotherhood’s declaration was based on results announced by election officials at individual counting centers, where each campaign has representatives who compile the numbers and make them public before the formal announcement.

The Muslim Brotherhood has campaigned on a platform of bringing Egypt closer to a form of Islamic rule. Morsi, who was part of the movement that overthrew Mubarak, has promised economic and political reform.

Just as the polls were closing Sunday night, Egypt’s military issued a declaration granting itself sweeping powers that stripped the president of nearly all significant powers. Despite the decree, Egypt’s ruling military council has vowed to hand over power to an elected president by the end of June.

George Little, the Pentagon press secretary, said the U.S. Defense Department was deeply concerned by the move to issue an interim constitution and urged the ruling military to transfer full power to a democratically elected civilian government, as it pledged to in the past.

“We believe Egypt’s transition must continue,” Little said, “and that Egypt is made stronger and more stable by a successful transition to democracy.”

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